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There are two facts of our day which occupy the 
centre of the stage, to which all other facts are tributary, 
and which for good or for ill are conceded to be of super- 
lative import. They are, the rise of democracy, and 
the decline of ecclesiasticism. 

As to the former, little more need be said than that it is 
a tidal movement — is so admitted even by its enemies. 
Democracy cannot be demarcated as a current in the 
midst of the waters. It is a ground swell moving the 
entire mass of the waters. The rising tide is reaching 
into every bay and inlet. Education, commerce, indus- 
try, art, letters, statecraft, are feeling the presence of a 
new spirit in the world. It is not localized — no metes 
or bounds to it. It is imperturbably unaware of racial 
or national lines. America is committed to it with an 
organic and complete conunittal. France has launched 
herself on these waters and is lapped in its waves. Eng- 
land is in the throes; to worriment over it is attributed 
the recent death of her king. Germany, Russia, Spain, 
Italy, tell the same tale. Turkey, Portugal, Japan are 
awakening. Persia, China, Egypt, India are rubbing 
sleep from their eyes. Quietly as the march of the stars, 
and as irresistible, the coronation of the common people 
is drawing nigh. Almost with literal exactness can 
one apply to it words of a singer of former time: 



The earth is democracy's and the fulness thereof, 
the world and they that dwell therein. Day unto 
day uttereth speech of it, night unto night showeth 
knowledge concerning it. There is no speech nor 
language to-day where its voice is not heard. Its line 
is gone out through all the earth, and its word to the 
end of the world. 

Imperious is the demand of the people for a controlling 
voice in their destinies. The disinherited classes are 
refusing to remain disinherited. Every device within 
the wit of man has been sought to keep them down. And 
the devices have come to naught. Their efforts to throw 
off the oppressor have not always been wise, but they 
have always been noble. Too often in these insurgencies 
they have but bruised their heads against the brass dun- 
geon roof above them. But it bespeaks a something of 
nobleness in man to dash his skull against the bars that 
imprison him. Unsane, inarticulate, the democracy 
hitherto has had its dwelling among the tombs; and no 
man has been able to tame it, no, not with chains; 
because that it has been often bound with fetters and 
chains, and the chains have been plucked asunder by it, 
and the fetters broken in pieces; neither has any man 
been able to tame it; and always, night and day, it has 
been in the tombs, crying and cutting itself with 

As to the other pivotal fact of our day, the decline of 
ecclesiasticism, proofs are equally abundant. Witnesses, 
representing all branches of the Church, enter the box. 
And something like the following is their testimony: 
"If the gain of the Church on the population during the 


first half of the century is represented by 40, during the 
last half it is represented by 20, during the last twenty 
years it is represented by 4, and during the last ten years 
it is represented by 0." "The Anglican Church finds it 
harder than ever to get preachers; the condition of the 
Methodist Church is distressing in the extreme, and the 
Baptists are going through a period of marked depres- 
sion." "Nine tenths of all the preachers in his circle 
of acquaintance are discouraged. The great majority 
of pastors are practically hopeless of accomplishing any- 
thing worth while." "In Russia the peasants are very 
largely becoming either indifferent to the Greek Church 
or hostile to it. In Austria there is a revolt against 
ecclesiastical authority. In Germany attendance at 
worship is failing off. In Italy and Spain it is the same 
thing. Everybody knows how enormous is the propor- 
tion of the French people untouched by the Church. 
In Great Britain there are echoes of our own depression. 
Whoever has had an opportunity of becoming acquainted 
with the mental condition of the intelligent classes in 
Europe and America, must have perceived that there 
is a great and rapidly increasing departure from the public 
religious faith; and that, while among the more frank 
this divergence is not concealed, there is a far more 
extensive and far more dangerous secession, private 
and unacknowledged. So widespread and so powerful 
is this secession that it can neither be treated with con- 
tempt nor with punishment. It cannot be extinguished 
by derision, by vituperation, or by force. The time is 
rapidly approaching when it will give rise to serious 
political results." "Desertions from the State Church 


in Germany are increasing so rapidly, that grave appre- 
hensions are caused in ecclesiastical circles. Added to 
this is the significant fact that the numbers of commun- 
ions, baptisms, and church marriages are rapidly diminish- 
ing." "The last decade has been the most strenuous 
and discouraging for Christian workers which this city 
(New York) has probably ever known." "There is such 
a thing as a religious crisis in America, however much 
we may scoflF at the idea." 

The thought of coupling in some way these two series 
of facts must have occurred even to the most casual 
reader. There is a causal connection between the rise 
of democracy and the decline of ecclesiasticism. The 
idea is getting abroad among the working masses that 
institutionalized religion is on the side of the propertied 
class. Says Guizot: "The Church has always sided 
with despotism." Emperor Charles V saw in the Re- 
formation the break-up of the old ecclesiastical system, the 
forerunner of political revolutions. States a news de- 
spatch from Germany: "Among the working classes, 
especially those attached to the Social Democratic party, 
there exists a bitter hostility to the clergy and all in- 
stitutions which they control," and we read that in Ger- 
many church-going on the part of any member of the 
proletariat is "looked upon as disloyalty to class." "In 
the present democratic revolution, the churches are not 
for the most part with the rising people, but are either 
indifferent or are with the dominant class. The clergy 
represent privilege. * ' Says a labour leader : * * The Ameri- 
can workingman hates the very shadow that the spire 


of the village church casts across his pathway." And 
as to the cities, "the overwhelming proportion of working- 
men is out of touch with the churches." Witnesses 
crowd to the stand: "We don't want church institution- 
alism. It leads to intolerance, loss of liberty, and per- 
secution; and then the cause of the people goes to the 
wall." The doctrine of the divine right of property 
is remembered — that the mass of people are born with 
saddles on their backs, and a favoured few booted and 
spurred to ride them legitimately by the grace of God. 
The priest and the exploiter — natural born twins: "Is- 
sachar is a strong ass crouching between two burdens." 
"Only employers, trades-people, property owners and 
usurers go to church." "The religious world with its 
organizations is something far removed from the labour 
world with its organizations. The two are drifting farther 
apart from each other every year." Says the Labour 
Leader, editorially: "In these later days the Church has 
fallen almost into obscurity as a power in the moral and 
civic life of the nation. Its form remains, its habili- 
ments are still gorgeous: but it walks behind, not in front 
of the State, and its gestures and speech are almost 
unheeded in the great march of the nation." The wage 
earners huzzah Shaftesbury when he exclaims, amidst his 
campaign for human rights: "The sinners are with us; it 
is the saints who fight against us." " The surprising thing 
to me is not that work people don't attend church. The 
surprise would be if they were to attend church. Why 
should work people attend church? What have they got 
to learn there? The Church has allied itself with land 
and capital, and generally with the master against his 


workmen. Its clergymen have dined with the rich and 
preached at the poor." Exclaimed Moody: "The 
gulf between the church and the masses is growing deeper, 
wider, and darker every hour." "The successful classes, 
even if they didn't know it, have used religion and heaven 
to keep the peace and to put off a lot of troublesome 
duties." The democracy is unable to believe that the 
Church is entirely disinterested in her zeal to preserve the 
present order of things. It points to the wealth pouring 
into her coffers and those of her allied institutions, and 
says. Does the Church serve Capitalism for naught? It 
points further to the more than suspected source of much 
of this wealth, and refuses to be impressed by the Church's 
richness of organization and sumptuous adornment. 
As when one discovers a corpse under a lilac tree, feeding 
its beauty, thereafter for all time there hangs over that 
tree a haunting ghastliness. 

Quite pertinent to this suspicious attitude of the sub- 
merged classes toward organized religion, are some 
phases of priestly activity in another day. Conspicuously, 
there is the Tower of Babel story — in every line of it 
the pen of the priest. "Go to, let us build us a city and 
a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven" — not so 
wicked an attempt on the part of those builders. To 
the contrary it seems to have been a fine undertaking ' — 
the Tubal Cains of that day exulting in their progressive 
mastership over nature and reaching up toward a neigh- 
bourly relationship with heaven. "Let us make us a 
name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the 
whole earth" — an honourable motive and one that has 


inspired the noble handicrafter in every age. But it 
was accounted by the priest mind a parlous thing for 
the working masses to get too exalted an opinion of 
themselves. Then, as now, religion was thought to reside 
in man's weakness and not in his strength — in his 
humiliations rather than in his masteries and achieve- 
ments. Therefore this priest narrative pictures heaven 
as jealous and as frustrating the builders: "The Lord 
scattered them, and they left off to build the city." The 
curse upon labour, in Genesis, is a chip from the same 
block. The strict embargo placed around the Tree of 
Knowledge, also reeks of this grudging and distrustful 
attitude of the priest toward the common people: "In 
the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, 
and ye shall be as gods" — recalling that later motto 
of the Church, "Ignorance is the mother of devotion." 
Not strange that certain sects among the gnostics boldly 
denounced this priest-pictured god as a malicious 
power seeking to thwart man's upward strivings, and 
worshipped the Serpent as the Prometheus of the world, 
true friend of man, the forerunner and type of the 

This Promethean struggle between the masses and the 
Olympian ones, jealous of their class privileges, has left 
a trail across several literatures. It is seen in the Greek 
legends of the Aloidge, who sought to reach heaven by 
piling up mountains, and were wrathfuUy cast down. 
Also in the Hindu legend of the tree which sought to grow 
into heaven, and which Brahma blasted. Pindar, the 
singer of aristocracy, issues a warning note: "Seek 
not to become a god." The Olympians in sooth are a close 


corporation jealous of their privileges, as the House of 
Lords to-day is averse to the creation of additional peers. 
That the Lord of the skies is perhaps on the side of the 
toiling masses, would have been an upheaving dogma. 
Accordingly the heavens are pictured by the subsidized 
priest-poets as ablaze with wrath at presumptuous man. 
Let a popular agitator like Prometheus scale the flaming 
ramparts of the skies to carry back fire to the masses, 
"to make blind hopes inhabit mortal souls," he 
is straightway crucified to a cliff in the Caucasus, 
as a warning to agrarian agitators for all time. 
iEschylus exclaims against "the vanity of men 
and their pride that toucheth the sky." But Lucretius 
seeks to sweep these priest-made gods away, as 
something repressive, a deadener of human strivings; 
and he lauded Epicurus as the saviour of men: 
"When human life lay shamefully grovelling on the 
earth, oppressed by religion which showed her head 
from the regions of the sky lowering down upon 
mortals with horrible aspect, then first a man of 
Greece dared raise aloft his mortal eyes and take 
stand against her." 

Through so long ages now has this note of the divine 
jealousy against man been harped, that it has got into 
the blood. It is seen in that superstitious fear of being 
happy, that vague, haunting feel that the divine nature 
begrudges man good things. This well-nigh omni- 
present dread finds voice in Caliban's picture of 

"Meanwhile, the best way to escape His ire 
Is not to seem too happy.*" 


The notion of the masses as a sub-human herd who 
cannot be safely entrusted with knowledge and privileges, 
sounds harmonious in Machiavelli: "And things cannot 
well be otherwise; for men will always naturally prove 
bad, imless some necessity constrains them to be good." 
But it comes with an ungracious note from Luther. 
When the peasants, basing on the identical principle 
whereby he laid claim to personal freedom, and spurred 
by sharper wrongs than his, uprose, this offspring of a 
miner uttered himself thus: "A rebel is outlawed of 
God and Kaiser. Therefore who can and will first 
slaughter such a man, does right well, since upon such a 
common rebel every man is alike judge and executioner. 
Therefore who can, shall here openly or secretly smite, 
slaughter and stab; and hold that there is nothing more 
poisonous, more harmful, more devilish than a rebellious 
man.*' Thereupon the peasants were racked, flayed, 
fagoted. Their tongues were torn out by red-hot 
pincers. They were subjected to every refinement of 
agony. Of two of them, handicraftsmen, who were 
being burnt, the chronicles record: "They lived long 
and cried with all their hearts to God; it was pitiable 
to hear them." Not to be wondered that Melancthon 
was constrained to admit that the people abhorred him- 
self and his fellow-divines. Professor Pollard in the 
"Cambridge Modern History" says of Luther that he 
had "the upstart's contempt for the class from which 
he sprang"; and again: "His sympathy with the masses 
seems to have been limited to those occasions when he 
saw in them a useful weapon to hold over the heads of 
his enemies." 


The same dynasty in England that enacted the Book 
of Common Prayer, enacted a statute against the working 
class — the land*s "spittle and filth," as they were termed 
— to the effect that men and women able to work and 
who were found idle for three days, "are to be branded 
with a red-hot iron on the breast." Apparently, in taking 
a vacation for three whole days together, the toilers 
were "following too much the devices and desires of their 
own hearts." And again: "Whereas, late against the 
Malice of Servants which were idle and not willing to 
serve, after the Pestilence, without taking excessive 
wages, an ordinance was passed to which said Servants 
pay no regard, but considering only their own ease and 
singular covetise, do withdraw from Great Men and 
others," therefore — it was enacted that workmen who 
refused to work for the same wages as before the Plague 
had decimated the population, should have the letter F 
(Falsity) burned into their foreheads. Further, inasmuch 
as certain "artificers, handicraftsmen, and labourers," 
had "sworn mutual oaths" as to the conditions under 
which they would work, they were taken in hand by the 
Lords Temporal and Spiritual — the usual penalties, 
fine, the pillory, mutilation. Thereupon the lords of the 
land turned their attention to the prayer book, and in 
imposing liturgy exhorted the peasantry to a "pure, 
humble and charitable mind, and perfect resignation 
to the divine will." Practically unchanged to this day, 
the book utters its petition each Sunday, "O Lord, 
save the State." There are those who say that the peti- 
tion is timely. 

It was in the nineteenth century that Rev. Dr. Andrew 


Bell delivered himself: "There is a risk of elevating, 
by an indiscriminating education, the minds of those 
doomed to the drudgery of daily labour above their con- 
dition, and thereby rendering them discontented and un- 
happy in their lot. It may suffice to teach the generality 
on an economical plan, to read their Bibles and under- 
stand the doctrines of our holy religion." And but just 
now a denominational journal writes: "It is a comfort- 
ing thought that, if God has seen fit to keep a majority 
of His children from privileges which we think essential 
to happiness, He has made them capable of being happy 
with the fewer and simpler things which He has allowed 

Not strange, therefore, that there is a something of 
bitterness in the heart of the wage earners toward the 

"Parson do preach, and tell me to pray. 
And to think of my work, and not ask more pay. 
I'm to call all I gets, 'the Chastening Rod,' 
And look up to my betters, and then thank God." 

A consciousness of power is maturing in the breast of 
the proletariat. And this is one of the mutterings which 
they are muttering to-day: "The social well-being of 
the people, the upward movement of the non-propertied 
or labour classes to material welfare, is continually being 
obstructed by conceptions of political subserviency and 
passive obedience to despotic authority, which is directly 
traceable to Christian doctrine." Which spirit of inter- 
rogation is a portent. Old Doctor Parsons figured it out 
that God created the world, "about fiv^ thousand, six 


hundred and odde yeares agoe"; and continued: "And 
if they aske what God was doing before this short number 
of yeares, we answered with St. Augustine replying to 
such curious questioners, that He was framing Hell for 
them." But the "curious questioners" believe them- 
selves to be on too hot a trail to be put off either by 
entreaties, threats, or by red herrings dragged across 
the scent. 

The democracy believes that the Church in its present 
form is a passing institution. That she is infinitely 
blas6 of the religion handed down. They detect an un- 
mistakable languor in her goings — the wearing out of 
her old enthusiasms. The Church is still accomplishing 
good. But the fire of youth is gone out of her. She is 
in the mid-afternoon of her existence — the secret of 
perennial morn having somehow been lost. There is 
a mellowness about her, but it is the mellowness of decay. 
The last sunset flush is gorgeous, but it has an immistak- 
able morituri touch — the "we-who-are-about-to-die" 
tone effect. The Church places her faith and her hope 
in charity. Almsgiving is her alpha and omega. She 
is an assuager of the wounds inflicted by the industrial 
brigandage, but leaves the brigands unmolested. Sani- 
tation is the key word in modern medicine — to cleanse 
the air of disease and thus bathe the people in an atmos- 
phere of health. But the Church practises still in the 
school of medication, oblivious of the discovery that to 
drain a swamp is better than barrels of quinine. Hers 
the patrician ideal : the rich doling driblets of their surplus 
to the poor. She enjoins upon the lowly a mood of 
gratefulness toward the benevolent feudalism of the day, 


"that they may increase and multiply their mercies 
upon us." Philanthropy, thou greatest foe of liberty! 
Nothing kills character so much as the acceptance of alms. 
Millions for charity, but not a cent for justice! The 
democracy charges that the Church is confederate with the 
despotisms that are enthroning themselves upon the 
people. She sees not with an eye singled to the im- 
peratives of the soul, but turns a solicitous glance ever 
to the source of her benevolences. In her endeavours 
to serve God and Mammon, she has become cross-eyed 
— is losing the power to know good and evil. She is 
tending to religiousness as a substitute for righteousness. 
Mammonism pays the fiddler and can call the tune. It 
expects the Church, "picture-like, to hang by the wall." 
Therefore her master note — submissiveness : "If ye 
be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the 
land." She chants the beauty of non-resistance. Many 
a devotee of social readjustment marvels that it is so 
difficult to awaken the people on questions in which they 
themselves are so vitally concerned. The explanation 
in large part is here. Through the pulpit a narcotizing 
influence is at work. Each Lord's Day morning, in city 
and village and country crossroads, sees a shower of 
spiritual cocaine sprinkled copiously on the assembled 
congregations, numbing the pain of the deep-lying social 
cancer and by slow degrees killing the nerves of feeling. 
Thus, by the cumulative power of transmission through 
the generations, there has been bred in the people a 
sheep-likeness under injustices which otherwise were 
easily remediable. "These are spots in your feasts of 
charity." Spiritual thraldom breeds economic thraldom. 


Despite magnificent exceptions — preachers who are 
veritably in the prophetic succession — the democracy 
charges home the indictment. The organized religion 
of our day is a continuing education in servility and 
dependence. Hence, the widespread feeUng of the futility 
of social effort — the social despair. As long as the 
religion of a people is one of kind-hearted feudalism, every 
effort at fundamental democracy will abort; and each 
still birth renders the next travail more uncertain. 

"The Bible good for the lower orders to accept!" Is 
religion to become a concerted masquerade? Churchmen 
defend their piously fraudulent view of the universe by 
the argument that social stability requires it: "The 
truths which hold society together are more important 
than the truths which are demanded merely by the 
intellect." To which the democracy makes reply that 
"truths" arrived at by intellectual castration are not 
going to be able long to hold society together. "Whether 
the historical statements on which the accepted creeds 
are based be true or not, an abrupt abandonment of these 
creeds is not desirable " — that writer is apparently himself 
one of those who in his own words "have much more faith 
in the political and social value of Christianity than in its 
philosophical and historical soundness." But a church 
of make-believers would very soon beget a generation 
of non-believers. The spell of cosmic superstition is 
broken. A determination to know is now in man. He 
accounts reverence for the fact a holier thing than rev- 
erence for the past. The pulpit, for the "edification 
of the faithful," may thunder its anathemas and "deal 
damnation round the land." But this spirit of inter- 



rogation is not going to be exorcised with holy water. 
Chinese gongs have been found a quite useless weapon 
against modern artillery. 

It should be interpolated at once that this antagonism 
of the working class to the Church, does not carry an 
antagonism also to Jesus. On the contrary, the Working- 
man of Nazareth probably never stood higher in their 
esteem or more ardent in their affections. Says one of 
them; "The Church has as an organized body no sym- 
pathy for the masses. It is a sort of fashionable club 
where the rich are entertained and amused, and where 
most of the ministers are muzzled by their masters and 
dare not preach the gospel of the Carpenter of Nazareth." 
Another: "I don't hold with church-going people at all 
but I will say this: I believe Jesus Christ was a down- 
right good fellow." It is not uncommon in labour as- 
semblies, where the name of the Church is hissed, to hear 
the name of the Galilean roundly applauded. Says one: 
"An intimate acquaintance with many thousands of 
workingmen has taught me that, even when there is 
no hostility whatever to religion, there is a sort of sub- 
conscious and unrecognized feeling of antagonism to 
the Church." "The talk of the churches," states a 
student of recognized soberness and insight, "is for the 
most part as intelligible as Hebrew to the modern hand- 
worker; but in the teaching of Jesus he seems to hear 
the welcome accents of a familiar tongue." Still another: 
"Among the working classes only one quality of religion 
remains, and that is respect and reverence for Jesus 
Christ." The Labourist party in Belgium has built 


in Brussels the Maison du peuple. In an upper lecture 
hall in that building hangs across the end of the platform 
a great curtain. Draw it aside, you behold in fresco — 
The Nazarene. Though familiar to them was the phrase, 
"Dieu Tenemi," the French Communists put the picture of 
the Wage Earner of Galilee in their halls with the words 
underneath: "The first Representative of the People." 
Camille Desmoulins styles him, "Le Bon Sansculotte." 
Affirms one who knows: "Many of the most trusted 
present-day labour leaders are firm in their allegiance 
to Jesus. They base even their political propaganda 
upon him, and look to him for the coming victory. WTiilst 
among others, less emphatic in their religious beliefs, 
there is wonderful reverence for the Man of Nazareth." 
"We used to think," says one of them, "that Christ was 
a fiction of the priests. But now we find that he was a 
man after all like us — a poor workingman who has a 
heart for the poor. And now that we understand this, 
we say. He is the man for us." 

But the Church party has seen nothing significant in 
this loyalty of the working masses toward her liege Lord. 
This Zeitgeist, democracy, is to her no other than a sooty 
devil from Tartarus. She likens it to terrible gog and 
magog, whose advent was foretold in Holy Writ. Her 
portrait of it would be horned, hoofed, tailed. Beholding 
her influence at wane among the masses — the march of 
the world on its way, herself more and more neglected — 
she takes up her lamentation: "Is it nothing to you, all 
ye that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow 
like unto my sorrow." The rise of the proletariat is 
termed more "dangerous to civilized society" than an 


invasion of Huns, Goths, and Saracens. It "grievously 
outrages the Holy Ghost. ' ' Its leaders are " presumptuous, 
self-willed, not afraid to speak evil of dignities, natural 
brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed." They are 
**as one who has been handed over to the Evil One." 
"Antichrist is here, the man of sin." "The times are very 
terrible." The old litany framed a collect against the 
Turk and the comet; a third is now being added: "From 
the Turk, the comet, and the democracy, good Lord, 
deliver us." "The Inquisition is an urgent necessity 
in view of the unbelief of the present age." An educated 
person enlisting on the side of the submerged, is declasse — 
regarded as "a heathen man and a publican." Democ- 
racy's imperturbable advance is to the Establishment 
as the rearing of leviathan — his "teeth are terrible round 
about; by his neesings a light doth shine; out of his nos- 
trils goeth smoke; his breath kindleth coals; in Jus neck 
remaineth strength, his heart is as firm as a stone; when 
he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid." They are 
m doleful case — confusion become worse confounded. 
The leaders of the Church assemble themselves, scratch 
perplexed heads, and read the prayer, "For those Who Are 
at Sea." A welter of fears and hatings and despairs! 

JNor is this wail of terror altogether unfounded. The 
working class composes 83 per cent, of the population, and 
is growing. In an age of triumphant industrialism, to 
be temperamentally unable to grasp thoughts and things 
industrial, is a Tekel Upharsin on the wall of any church. 
The alienation of the world's workers from the world's 
religion is a portent whose gravity cannot be over- 
Stressed. "The social question of to-day," said Disraeli, 


" is only a zephyr which rustles the leaves, but will become 
soon a hurricane." Daily the dragon seed matures. 

And so has come about an unhappy situation — 
industrialism and religion divorced from each other. 
They were meant to be mates. Industrialism needs the 
spiritual note, to impart to it conscience, zest, imagina- 
tion — the qualities which make handicraftsmen into 
artists. Religion needs likewise the industrial note, to 
give to its airy visions a body and local habitation, lest 
its dreamings, vague and vapourish, become sickly fer- 
mentations of the brain. But a rupture in the marital 
relations of these two has taken place. Meant for each 
other, each incomplete without the other, they have got 
into a state of mutual incompatibility. In place of 
confidence there is distrust, coldness, crimination. There 
is being taken out between them a bill of divorce- 

Loving his Church with a bitter love. The Carpenter 
on the cross sees only this, after the passion of twc 
thousand years. 




The Posture of Affairs . . . vii 


Empire . 



Working-class Galilee 



A Carpenter 



A Woman 



His Plan . 









The Rapids 



Collision . 






Bad Friday- 



Rome's Blood Lust 



Battle Pictures 



A Roman Citizen 



Annexed . 



A "Holy" Empire 



Democracy's Ultimatum 



The Industrial Comrade 



Lest the Towers Fall 









And it came to pass in those days that there went 
out a decree from Csesar Augustus that all the world 
should be taxed." Our attention is arrested by the audac- 
ity of the thing. "That all the world should be taxed!" 
The brazenness of the decree extorts a kind of admiration, 
like that extended to brigands who exhibit nerve in un- 
common degree. That kind of admiration and no other. 
Because people to-day are under no illusion as to the 
nature of this "tax." Rome was under no illusion either. 
Whatever her faults, hypocrisy was not one of them. 
And this which our record pleasantly terms a "tax," 
was recognized by Rome herself as booty, plain and 
flat. No pretence that she was levying it on the peoples 
with their consent, or was to expend it for their benefit. 
It was the spoils of conquest, and was extracted at the 
point of the sword. It was a hold-up game — frankly 
admitted to be such by the "taxer," and howlingly de- 
scribed as such by the "taxed." Our wonder is not 
that the people howled. Our wonder is that they did 
not howl louder. That a small group on the banks of 
the Tiber could hold up "the whole world," argues a 
distinct decay of spirit in the people thus held up. A 
lone wolf — the simile is Rome's; she traced her origin 



to a she-wolf — a lone wolf prevails against a flock of 
a hundred sheep, not so much because of his wolfiness 
as because of their sheepiness. 

But there was a stalwart little people in Rome's 
province of Syria who had not as yet so lost spirit as 
to concede the right of wolves to be wolves and of sheep 
to be sheep. This people was enrolled in the list of the 
conquered. But it had only been a conquest of terri- 
tory. The soul was unsurrendered. And just about 
now — to be exact, precisely during a journey on the 
part of his parents to pay this "tax" — there was being 
born in this unconquered race a leader who was to call 
back to self-respect the peoples thus subjugated, raising 
up in them once more a free spirit. In fact, knowing 
pre-natal influence as we now do, we can affirm that this 
particular "tax," dragging him as it did by the um- 
bilical cord across the landscape of Syria, must have had 
something to do with moulding him into the eco- 
nomic out-and-outer which we behold him later. This 
"tax" was the first instance in history of brigand- 
age on a world scale. It is more than an accident, 
therefore, that its incidence coincided with the ges- 
tation period of a child who as man was to vision 
a world-wide union of the toiling masses against 
the legalized brigandage which had its headquarters 
on the Tiber. For he felt the shock of this new and 
fateful force that had come into the world, while he 
was yet unborn, and at a time when, among most 
nations, even those but partially civilized, mother and 
child have immemorially been accorded a cessation 
of brutality. 


The reader has caught the drift. We here address 
ourselves to view Jesus, the Carpenter of Nazareth, from 
the viewpoint of economics. Concededly a different 
viewpoint from that usually held. But we shall be 
rigorously historical. The present is not a work of the 
imagination. It affirms to be a piece of cool, scientific 
history. If the portrait of The Carpenter here unearthed 
differs from the one commonly viewed, may it not be 
because accretions of time have defaced the picture, 
blurring its aforetime sharpness? — incrustations which 
are now peeling off, by grace of the critical scholarship 
of our day, revealing some vivid tints in the portrait. 
The attempt in these pages is that of a restoration. 
It slavishly follows the ancient records, and is ambitious 
of nothing more than to retrace the picture as it was 
at the first. No originality is claimed. I have been 
an incontinent borrower. The book is plagiaristic 

Entirely modern is the study of economic backgrounds. 
It was a study which ancient chroniclers did not at all 
take to. Their interest lay in kings and conquerors. 
Themselves members of the privileged class, they ac- 
counted the common people a degrading theme. His- 
tory in the pre-democratic eras was a Book of Kings, and 
only incidentally a Book of Peoples. The people ! Their 
short and simple annals were deemed unworthy the pen of 
a chronicler — lives of a dull monotone, an unrelieved 
gray of drudgery and the daily round. Whereas the boast 
of heraldry, the pomp of power, gave to the colourists the 
opportunity they craved for splendid patches of purple. 

There was also another — more cogent — reason why 


the historians of that day did not chronicle the Ufe con- 
ditions of the proletariat. The overlords, patrons of the 
historical art, did not wish those conditions chronicled 
— social history might prove explosive. The seigniorial 
class lived on the heaving crust of a volcano. Any 
book calculated to break open that crust, if only for a 
peep-sight into the human depths below, would have 
met hard sledding with the publishing houses of the 
period. If any such manuscripts did get published, the 
copies were hunted out ruthlessly by imperial decree. 
For, except in the first three books of the New Testament, 
we have extant no contemporary ancient chronicles 
written by and for the people themselves. In the pages 
that treated of the slave Spartacus and the humiliations 
he inflicted on Rome's master class, both Sallust and 
Livy are to this day missing. 

In this way ancient civilization was given a glittering 
front. But the type of historian that is being developed 
by democracy, is achieving a change of base. He is 
going to peer behind that imposing fagade to the social 
life of the times — the myriad slaves toiling in the silver 
mines of the Athenians, in the vast brick fields of Rome, 
in the copper mines of Sinai, in galleys on the Mediter- 
ranean, in the gold mines of Egypt, in the quarries of 
Numidia and Greece; he is going to listen to the clank 
of the chains in the vineyards of Italy. Nor are we 
altogether without materials, outside the three books 
mentioned, for such a study. Slip-ups will occur in the 
most rigorously supervised bureau of history. The 
hundred-eyed censor can but imperfectly visee such 
material for instance as personal correspondence. So 

EMPraE 7 

that we can beguile from these accidents and fugitive 
pieces a fairly coherent account of life in the dumb 
ages — those submerged classes which, denied even the 
privilege of articulating their sorrows, were yet the 
foimdation of the millionairic splendour and pageantry 
which monopolize the pages of ancient writ. To view 
that dim mass of unrequited toil cannot but be a re- 
warding task. For Christianity took its rise in an eco- 
nomic upheaval. We shall see that even its highest and 
most spiritual reaches had a rootage in the industrial 
condition of the masses. 

The Roman Empire was a world-wide confederation 
of aristocracies for the perpetuation of human servitude. 
Customarily that empire has been pictured in terms of 
military art, of jurisprudence, or of government. But 
these phases of it were secondary. Economic exploita- 
tion was the end in view, the organizing purpose through- 
out. For the Romans were enormously "practical." 
Aught smacking of idealism was laughed by them out of 
court. Once upon a time they had had a religion. But 
this was back in Rome's early days; and she was not a 
despoiler of peoples then. Before the empire — her 
era of aggression — started in, her idealism had left 
off, she had entered upon her decadence. In fact her 
only ideal now was to frame a system of human relation- 
ships so minutely administered by law that idealism 
would be unnecessary. Her famed codes of jurisprudence 
and systems of administration had for their purpose to 
bring life down out of the cloud-lands of sentiment onto . 
a level where law would be everywhere operative. Pa- 


triotism, racial inheritance, ancestral literatures, the 
art and worship of the peoples — Rome "cared for 
none of these things." For her portion the pot of gold; 
to others the rainbow, and welcome. It was because 
of this hard materiality, this absence of sentiment, that 
the empire was able to override national boundaries 
and establish a world organization where others had 
failed. The Romans' one object was revenue, an object 
which they pursued quite unhindered by any sentiment 
of patriotism even toward their own country. There- 
fore they were enabled to approach the class of revenue- 
worshippers among other peoples on the same cash basis, 
propose an alliance, and laugh them out of any patriotic 
objections which might prompt themselves. 

In the countries of the ancient world, even before the 
formation of the empire, slavery was the basis of society. 
In each was a capitalist class and a slave class. The 
capitalists, however, were constantly in fear of slave 
insurrection. The dread clouded their sunshine by day, 
and nightmared their sleep; for they saw, piling up 
against them, a discontent hell-deep and heaven-high. 
The fear made them cruel; it goaded them to harsh 
measures of repression. Repression, however, only 
nagged the servile class into greater restiveness, which 
in turn called for repression still more cruel. The ex- 
ploiters found themselves caught in this vicious circle: 
fear, cruelty, revolt; thereupon more fear, more cruelty, 
more revolt. A descensus Avemi. The situation was 
becoming intolerable. Hereupon Rome appeared with 
her proposal of a world-wide federation of the capitalist 
class against this restive proletariat, whereby they could 


pool their separate armies into a military unit, and hurl 
its entire weight against a popular uprising in any one of 
the countries. The proposal was hailed with joy. A 
concordat with the noblesse of every country was drawn 
up. The Roman Empire was the result. 

Rome's empire was "The System" at work in the 
ancient world. She did not conquer the nations. She 
annexed them, by means of a coalition with the local 
capitalist group in each. This manner of her procedure 
is seen in her dealings with the Sabine Claudii, and at 
Veii and Capua. Also in the city states of Etruria, 
Campania, and Magna Graecia. Wherever the strain 
between the local privileged class and its proletariat 
was intense, Rome found natural allies in the former. 
In the march of the Roman conqueror through Greece, 
the Hellenic aristocracies opened to him their gates. In 
Carthage the upper class detested the war and wished 
to make peace with Rome. Csesar found in Gaul a 
small plutocracy grown rich on the war, usury and the 
farming of the public taxes; he used them as the nucleus 
of his organization in annexing the provinces. In 
Palestine, much of the New Testament is the narrative 
of the coalescence of the native princes with the Roman 
invader. Brain-sweat has been copiously expended to 
discover why Rome succeeded in the business of world- 
empire, where men like Alexander had failed. Merivale 
gives up in despair and calls Rome's secret of success, 
"one of the lost arts." The clue is found here in eco- 
nomics. Rome succeeded because she sought to impose 
no new patriotism on the peoples. Her motto was, 
"For Revenue Only"; therefore she found a kindred 


class in each of the countries, and with that class she 
formed an alliance. This is why, once she had hit upon 
the method, her empire spread so rapidly over the earth. 
It took Rome five hundred years to conquer Italy. She 
conquered the rest of the world in fifty-three years. It 
was economic interest that held the empire together. 
The local oligarchies were bound by gold chains about 
the feet of Rome. The palace of the Emperor on the 
Palatine became a university to which were sent the sons 
of allied sovereigns for an education. Native oligarchies, 
living under Rome's protectorate, were moons depend- 
ing upon their central sun for light. Rome's genius for 
conquest was great, but her genius for coahtion was 
greater. With her these two were one. Rome coalesced 
with the exploiter class in every country, for joint con- 
quest over the proletariat in every country. 

Machiavelli discerned the secret of Rome's success in 
empire-building. Said he: " Conquered states that have 
been accustomed to liberty and the government of their 
own laws can be held by the conqueror in three different 
ways. The first is to ruin them; the second, for the 
conqueror to go and reside there in person; and the 
third is to allow them to continue to live under their 
own laws, subject to a regular tribute, and to create in 
them a government of a few, who will keep the govern- 
ment friendly to the conqueror. Such a government, 
having been established by the new prince, knows that 
it cannot maintain itself without the support of his 
power and friendship, and it becomes its interest there- 
fore to sustain him." Ferrero also, though under the 
spell of the old military and imperial concepts, never- 


theless lets drop some words that support our conten- 
tion: "Everywhere, even in the most distant regions," 
says he, "powerful minorities formed that worked for 
Rome and against old separating, anti-uniting forces, 
against old traditions and local patriotism alike. The 
wealthy classes everywhere became in a special way 
wholly favourable to Rome"; and again: "The economic 
unification was first and was entire; then came the 
political unity, which was less complete than the unifying 
of material interests." The evidence is incontestable: 
Roman success was due quite as much to the cleverness 
of her diplomacy as to her prowess in arms. England 
has succeeded in India and Egypt because she too has 
caught the secret — ^she governs through native rulers. 

It may be objected that the economic was not the 
sole reason for the formation of the empire; that the 
common danger of a Teutonic invasion was equally a 
motive in the coalescence of the Mediterranean aristoc- 
racies into a united military front. But the Teutonic 
danger would not in itself have been alarming. There 
had been inroads of the barbarian in earlier days before 
slavery had corrupted the Mediterranean blood; and 
they had been easily taken care of. Had a just economic 
condition continued to prevail, successive immigrations 
of Teuton folk could readily have been assimilated, to 
add new vigour to the old societies. It was the merciless 
exploitation of one class by another which vitiated the 
industry of the Mediterranean world, corrupted its life 
and weakened its defences; and so made the Teuton 
danger real. For when the avalanche which had been 
wrongfully allowed to pile up suddenly broke, and the 


barbarians poured down from out the northern mountains 
to challenge the empire, they challenged an empire 
divided against itself; and they beheld the gates opening 
to them from the inside. The classic world came not to 
an end by wounds from without; it met its death from 
internal hemorrhage. And this open sore in her intes- 
tines was the ruthless, cold, scientific exploitation of one 
part of society by the other part, which sore in its aggra- 
vated form came with the coming of the empire and was 
the empire. 

This was the Roman Empire's contribution to the 
world's thought, namely, the solidarity of capital, the 
oneness of the interests of property irrespective of nation- 
al boundaries. Until Rome appeared to preach this 
doctrine, the capitalist class in the various countries 
had been pillaging each other. The senatorial oligarchy 
of one nation would declare war against a neighbouring 
nation, looking to the spoils of battle to defray the 
expenses of the campaign and leave a comfortable sur- 
plus as profit. Not an ideal state of affairs, true. Never- 
theless it was infinitely preferable to "The System" 
introduced by the Romans, because it had pro- 
moted a rough kind of democracy, the noblesse and 
proletariat of one country being welded into a patriotic 
oneness by the exigencies of their common war with the 
neighbour state. Thus it had redeemed the people 
from absolute degradation; by the crude patriotism 
engendered it was keeping a strain of idealism alive; 
and thus was preserving the soul of man against the time 
when the futility of war as a means of enrichment would 
be discovered and each people would absorb itself in the 


development of its natural resources. But Rome 
knocked at the gates, and changed all this. She per- 
suaded the local oligarchy in each country to deride 
with her derision all dream-stuff, such as patriotism, 
racial ideals, ancestral loyalties. Revenue was the 
thing around which all her life revolved, and she brought 
these others to the same way of thinking. Rome showed 
to the privileged class in each country that in competing 
amongst themselves they were likely to meet with the 
fate of the two men in the fable who, disputing with 
each other for the exclusive ownership of the beast, 
looked up to see the ass running away from both of 
them. The dvil wars in Rome herself had had this as 
their motive, the patricians and plebs endlessly 
squabbling as to who should enjoy the wealth that was 
being created by the slave class. "Let us cease to exploit 
one another, and together exploit the working class,'* 
now was Rome's proposal. 

The idea came at the psychological moment. The 
slave class, estimated by Gibbon at sixty millions — an 
entire half of the world's population — was straining 
at all the hatches of the slaver and threatening at any 
moment to break out from the hold and win a share of 
the sunshine and open space up on deck. Rome had 
felt the pressure on her own hatchway even more than 
the other masters of the vessel. Her restive slave class 
was becoming more restive. She had erected a statue 
to "Quiet," and had tried the experiment of making 
Contentment into a religious cult. In vain. The seeth- 
ing at the bottom of society was becoming ever more 
turbulent. Spartacus, a few years before, had shown 


how a revolt could be conducted, and the object lesson 
was fresh in mind, a star of hope in the sky of every slave, 
a portent in the sky of every owner of slaves. Escaping 
with his companions from the slave stable at Capua, 
where they were being fattened for the amphitheatre, 
he had entrenched himself in the crater of an extinct 
volcano. From thence he issued a proclamation of 
universal freedom. Slaves from plantations round about 
flocked to his standard. He became the head of a 
revolution. Rome sent armies against him one after 
another, only to see them come back defeated. For 
two interminable years Spartacus maintained the war. 
At last he was destroyed, but not until he had struck 
chill into the spinal jelly of every owner of human flesh 
in the Roman state. Furthermore, there was constant 
fear lest there might arise more fools like the Gracchi, 
patrician traitors to their class, and incite the populace 
to demands of justice. A measure had been proposed 
in the Roman Senate to dress slaves in a uniform livery, 
so as to distinguish them from freemen. It was killed 
straightway by the argument that this would disclose 
to the slaves their numerical strength. We can credit 
Tacitus, therefore, when he says that the fear of slave 
insurrection was chronic. Nor was this confined to 
Rome. In every state of the ancient world there was a 
proletary restlessness — cursings that were loud, the 
deep rumble and mutterings of a storm about to break. 
Accordingly, Rome's proposal of a league of the 
capitaHst class everywhere was greeted with instant 
favour. And the empire was formed. It was an 
Intimidation Trust, Rome, as promoter of the new cor- 


poration, being its master spirit and taking a promoter's 
profit. It was an oligarchy of oligarchies. Formerly 
each of them had maintained an army of its own. Now 
these were rolled into one, with an Imperator at its head. 
By means of uniform dress, weapons, tactics, and organi- 
zation, the united armies were disciplined into a fighting 
unit of high eflSciency. Great causeways were built, 
for celerity in mobilizing the legions. These roads were 
paved with flat stones, so as to make for swift marching. 
They were carried straight across the landscape, cutting 
through mountains, and carrying over valleys on great 
archways. No expense was spared in shortening dis- 
tances — the reach of the entire military force into the 
district of every member of the Corporation, was the 
heart of the system. Let a local prince or princeling 
in any part of the empire send in a call for help against 
his mutinous subjects, within forty-eight hours there 
would glitter on the horizon the spear flash of the gather- 
ing legions, bearing down upon that spot from every 
quarter of the world. 

Cleveland's "the cohesion of wealth," is modern. 
But the thing itself is ancient. The tendency of the 
families of wealth in every country to form a class by 
themselves, is deep-set in the human makeup. Rome 
carried the tendency one step further — she cemented 
the moneyed class in the various countries into an inter- 
national combine. "Peace and order" were at last 
secure. An antitoxin against insomnia had been devised. 
Slave owners could now lay their heads on their pillows 
at night, without the fear of insurrection gnawing them 
through the night-watches. An uprising of the toiling 


masses, no matter how formidable, could be handled. 
Upon a rebellious district could be mobilized in shortest 
time six and twenty legions. The machinery of in- 
timidation was complete. Man was undermost, and 
property paramount. The " Golden Age " — literally 
— set in. The Roman Empire, that apotheosis of 
property rights, fastened itself upon the world. 
Embracing all nations and tongues and climates, a motley 
crew, they had one cohering principle which swallowed 
up their diversities — the coherence of a common plunder. 


As HAS been stated, the extension of the Roman 
"System" to include the Jews, a stm-dy mountaineer 
folk in the hill country of Syria, met there a vehe- 
ment opposition. And in Galilee, one of the districts of 
the Jews, the most vehemency of all. This Galilee, 
restive under every domination, was famed for the in- 
tense spirit of its inhabitants. Josephus as a general 
had carried on military operations there, and later as a 
historian was moved to bear testimony to the valour of 
her people. In this she differed from the other Palestine 
district, Judea, and its capital city, Jerusalem. Because 
Jerusalem was the home of the country's aristocracy, 
we read of the Bethlehem event; "When Herod, the 
king, had heard these things he was troubled, and all 
Jerusalem with him." Like the local aristocracies 
in all the other countries of the world, these had lined 
up with the Romans — were federated with the invader. 
When Pompey, some years before this, had marched 
against Jerusalem, the high priests there, representing 
the local ruling caste, had opened the gates to him. 
Galilee, a working-class district, was left therefore as the 
sole leader of the popular cause. The fight is always 
hottest where the lines come closest together; and the 
controversy between horny-handed Galilee and the 



Jerusalemite set, haughty with its wealth and learning, 
was inveterate. But this was only a phase of the larger 
controversy — that of the labouring class everywhere 
against the invasive capitalism of the empire and its 
'ndustrialism based on slavery. 

The Galileans, no better than the other provinces, 
could have given an explanation of this new thing in the 
world, the Roman Empire. No age fully understands 
itself. Lapse of time is needed for perspective. And 
if the Galileans had been called upon to chart the current 
of the world politics of the day, they would probably 
have made sorry work of it. They felt rather than dis- 
cerned the presence of a new force in the world; and 
they divined that it boded no good. Hitherto there had 
been frequent changes in the tyranny under which, for 
some four hundred years back, they had lived; and this 
alternation of masters had kept hope alive. Now there 
was a sense of permanency in the despotism which, 
from Antioch as its land base, was bearing down upon 
them in the trail of the Roman legions. There was an 
imperious note in the commands of the tribute gatherers, 
as though an infinite arm of power was now behind the 
fist which lay at their throat, demanding their goods. 
Furthermore, all of the tyrannies hitherto had been of 
the East, Eastern. And though exacting the uttermost 
farthing of tribute, these despotisms had been gilded 
with a respect for Asiatic ideals, religion, reverence, a 
hold-fast in the Unseen. But this new despotism was 
characterized by a hard materiality, untempered by senti- 
ment of any kind, a race of conquerors self-indulging, 
heavy-fisted, cynical. "The gods are rheumatic when 


we ask them to come to our relief," was Rome's way of 
meeting idealism of any sort. Subconsciously the Gali- 
leans felt themselves in the presence of some fate, as 
though the sky was turning to brass over their heads and 
they were to be cooped imder that inverted bowl forever. 

A young woman by the name of Mary, in Nazareth of 
Galilee, was particularly stirred by this coming of des- 
potism. Mary was of uncommon force of character. 
Her dominant trait seems to have been independency, 
showing itself in a disregard of social conventions, and 
in her zeal for her country's political and economic res- 
toration. Ever since the Jews had lost their indepen- 
dence and had become humiliated by subjection to a 
foreign power, there had been utterances of hope on the 
part of her patriot wise men to the effect that restoration 
would some time or other come, because a leader equal 
to the task would be bom. Now as the Roman oppres- 
sion fastened its grip on the people and the times became 
hard and harder, a longing for this Deliverer promised 
of old to Israel burst into glowing flame in thousands 
of hearts. There seems to have been a circle of these 
waiting souls, with something of solidarity amongst them, 
their common hope knitting them into an intimacy of 
fellowship. They knew each other, paid visits back and 
forth, and heartened themselves by mutual exhortation. 
This group made much of the prophetic sections in their 
national scriptures. Isaiah's Redeemer-dream was their 
meat and drink. We read of them that they "waited 
for the consolation of Israel." Nor did they content 
themselves alone with "waiting." Prophecy has a 


psychological base, in that a sure and longing expectation 
induces a set of the will, a resolve to bring the expectation 
to pass. Therefore the members of this expectant fellow- 
ship sought an active programme whereby the prophecies 
of deliverance should be translated into performance. 

Of this circle of patriot souls, Mary was a member. 
She was a choice representative of them, and seems to 
have been something of a leader in their councils even 
before our narrative opens. She now steps to the front 
as their foremost spirit. Betrothed to Joseph, a car- 
penter of Nazareth, she resolves that if it is permitted 
her to become a mother she will dedicate the child, be 
it son or daughter, to the cause. Joseph — since matings 
go by opposites — was a fit companion. He is described 
by a word which — a fact of significance — has disap- 
peared from our vocabulary: Joseph was a "just" 
man. Quiet efficiency, wise silence, faithful workmanship, 
a sadly humourous contemplation of the human drama, 
seem to have characterized him. " Greatheart " is perhaps 
the fitting term. He lacked, however, the aggressive 
temperament which the times demanded. This element 
came from Mary. In launching the new force into human 
history which we are about to witness, she was the primum 
mobile. Hers was the brain that dared conceive, hers 
the spirit that dared to execute. We read, "his parents 
went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the pass- 
over." By Jewish law the woman was not required to 
attend these feasts; she could be represented by her 
husband. The fact, therefore, that Mary refused to 
avail herself of this exemption, and entered personally 
into the duties and privileges of a devout patriot, con- 


firms the forceful lines in her portrait as it is sketched. 
So also in the nativity narratives. There can be no two 
opinions. Mary was the driving force. Hers the initia- 
tive throughout. The quality of her spirit can be 
appraised by remembering that in this undertaking to 
which she was setting herself she had as adversary the 
collective and organized might of the Roman world. 
If ever the Holy Ghost came upon a woman and the power 
of the Highest overshadowed her, it was this valorous 
maid of Galilee quietly resolving in the sovereignty of 
her own soul to upheave an empire. 

It seems that a formal wedding had not taken place. 
There had been a public betrothal, which in Jewish 
law was the sacred and real part of marriage — "Mary, 
his espoused wife." It is property considerations which 
make the later legal rite necessary. In the present 
case the poverty of the contracting parties — and, 
too, the expense of a second public ceremonial — 
must be regarded. It is safe to state that no other 
disregard of the rules of conventionality has ever occa- 
sioned the mental sweat which the present one has occa- 
sioned to the thinkers of Christendom. This squeam- 
ishness does not seem to have been shared by Mary 
herself, for she openly owned Joseph as the child's parent : 
"Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." How- 
ever the news of the affair having become published — 
there were gossiping housewives in Nazareth — it was 
from early times felt needful to explain it away. And 
the confusion seen in the gospel accounts is the result. 
No entirely coherent narrative can be extracted from the 
records as they stand: our only resource has been to take 


that interpretation which harmonizes the greatest number 
of statements and has the fewest contradictions. 

It is a rehef to leave that shadowy region where at 
best can be only conjecture — the transmission of life 
has ever been a mystic, a miraculous thing, and will 
always be — and get at once to where our feet are on 
solid ground. This we obtain at the moment Mary 
knows that within her a child is gestating. For she 
thereupon composed a song. It is the greatest song in 
history. This "Magnificat" is the battle-hynm of 
democracy. Sensing a child within her, Mary feels 
herself equal to the Roman Empire; and she announces 
that the days of despotism are numbered. Caesar on 
his seven-hilled throne may sacrilegiously style himself 
Augustus, "the divine one." But Mary as confidently 
disallows him that title. Heaven is not on the side of 
privilege and oppression, she affirms, but is rather on 
the side of the trodden. Rome is great, but Galilee with 
God is greater. In this song three classes of people 
are objects of Our Lady*s invective — "the proud," 
"the mighty," and "the rich." And she passes upon 
them a threefold sentence: they are to be "scattered," 
"put down from their seats," and "sent empty away." 
While the "himgry" are to be "filled with good things," 
and the oppressed classes are to be "holpen." Jesus, 
in that pronunciamento of his later, "the first shall be 
last and the last first, " was a plagiarist from his mother, 
dating from these days of his germination. 

It may strike some readers, wonted to the smooth 
decorums of a hyper-civilized and artificial age, that Mary 
in this almost bloodthirsty proclamation is overstepping 


the bounds of feminine retirement. But this fails to take 

account of the aboriginal energy of spirit in that Jewish 

blood. Galilee was the intense heart of the most intense 

race ever known. This was moreover at Israel's crisal hour, 

her age-long martyrdom come to its coronation in one last 

stand against the enemy. It was the golden moment in 

history, the highest peak which the human spirit has 

climbed in its march across the centuries. If Mary 

had been the conventional, the starchly decorous creature 

which some would prefer her to have been, Christianity 

would never have been born. Her child was to be called 

upon to do a titan's work, and needed a mother whose 

spirit was likewise cast in the titan mould. 

If the churches of the well-off and privileged class 

realized the social dynamite that is concealed in this 

hymn composed by The Carpenter's mother, they would 

expurgate it from their liturgies forthwith. The burst 

of insurrection rumbles through it like the interior fires 

of a volcano. It is prolific in Magna Chartas. It is a 

declaration of independence from every form of slavishness. 

My soul doth magnify the Lord; 

For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. 

His mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 

He hath showed strength with his arm; 

He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 

He hath put down the mighty from their seats. 

And exalted them of low degree. 

He hath filled the hungry with good things; 

And the rich he hath sent empty away. 

He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy. 

"The Marseillaise" of the ancient world! And this 

hymn of revolution, pulsing with hatred of oppressors 

and with fellow-feeling for all the oppressed ones of 


earth, was composed and sung by Mary while she was 
carrying Jesus underneath her heart. Holy mother of 
God, from henceforth in very deed all generations shall 
call thee blessed. 

And so it was that the days were accomplished; and 
she brought forth her first-born son and laid him in a 
manger. Manger! Jesus belongs to the proletariat 
by birthright. For this nativity in a cattle shed was 
typical of a life that was lived democratically throughout. 
In cities round about were Roman grandees, vassal 
kings, patrician magnates. Rich with the spoil of half a 
continent, they accounted the toiling masses to be but 
cattle — and housed them as cattle. He who was to 
arouse the masses to a demand for human rights was born 
in a stable side by side with oxen. 

As his eyes blinked to the light of day, the future Car- 
penter saw in that Syrian village the Roman "System" 
now for the first time operating on a world scale. It was 
the occasion of the "tax" spoken of before, that booty 
which Rome was proceeding to lift from a defenceless 
peasantry. This Bethlehem event is sometimes re- 
ferred to as a census. But the census was to serve as 
the basis of a poll tax which now was to be added to the 
other taxes that were on the backs of the people: 

The simple rule, the good old plan. 

That he should take who has the might. 
And he shall keep who can. 

Habitually near to the starvation line lived the peas- 
antry of that time. The people in this particular prov- 
ince had already been bled to the verge by Herod, Rome's 
toady and vassal. This further spoliation, therefore, 


meant bread out of many a mouth. The brigands on 
the Tiber, however, had thoughtfully provided for every 
emergency. There was a Roman law that a parent could 
sell his infant into slavery, if the money was needed to 
pay the tax. Some of the mothers in that Bethlehem 
crowd, therefore, must at that moment have been lifting 
up very sharp cries, because their babes had been sold 
to raise the necessary money. 

The shepherds were a set upon whom the tax fell with 
an especially cruel pressure, for they were the poorest 
class in Palestine. They slept in the fields with their 
flocks. Their clothing was of the scantiest, their persons 
rude and unkempt because of the nature of their occu- 
pation, and their food supply at all times precarious. 
This poll tax, therefore, coming now on top of all the other 
booty which they were being periodically separated from, 
fell with crushing weight. It seriously reduced the num- 
ber of sheep in their flocks, and meant short rations 
throughout the residue of the winter. Even in our own 
country, taxes are paid with begrudgment; from which 
one can judge the feelings wherewith the "tax" in the 
present instance was paid. For the enormous sums of 
money thus raised were to be sent out of the country — 
the impoverishment of those already poor for the en- 
richment of those already rich. Therefore we can 
readily credit the report that it was good tidings to 
the shepherds encamped on the plans outside Beth- 
lehem, when they heard that a Deliverer was being 
born to them. 

The tax was finally "accomplished." But only by 
the burning of Tillages and the slaughter of hundreds. 


Rhapsodists have sought decorously to gild this Bethle- 
hem picture: 

"O little town of Bethlehem, 
How still we see thee lie! 
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep. 
The silent stars go by. " 

But those silent stars looked down on a scene that was 
anything but peaceful and idyllic. Poetry must be 
sought in other directions than the ecstatic. For the 
economic background thrusts insistently into view — re- 
fuses to remain glossed over. That Bethlehem town is 
far from "still" on the night in question. Nor is its 
slumber "deep and dreamless. *' A mood of interrogation 
is upon the people — an angry, bitter, venomous mood. 
They are asking by what right this decree is issuing from 
the Tiber, "that all the world should be taxed." It is 
an interrogation that will not down. Groups of angry 
men, husbands and fathers, gather on the street corners, 
gesticulating in fashion that is ominous. Gatherings 
on street corners are bad for despotism in all ages. The 
Roman cohorts have learned an effective way to end 
gatherings on street corners; they employ this method 
now. The captain of the garrison near by issues an order. 
The soldiery of Rome and of her menial, Herod, are set 
in motion. They put an end to gatherings on the street 
corners. And the Syrian stars that night looked down upon 
corpses in the streets — men who that morning were 
heads of families, but who made the mistake of asking 
questions. Daughters and young wives, now that their 
natural protectors are out of the way, become spoils of 
conquest for the soldiery. Even babes feel the Roman 


ferocity. The night is vocal with rage and anguish — 
"lamentation and weeping and great mourning, Rachel 
weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, 
because they are not. " 

We are certified that Mary "pondered all these things 
in her heart." For the money that was being pillaged 
from this working-class population was to be forwarded 
to Italy to make a Roman holiday. And we may be 
sure that Mary knew something of Rome's idea as to 
what a holiday should be. She had been brought up in 
a cosmopolitan district. Galilee lay across the great 
trade routes of the world. Nazareth looked down upon 
the highway between the Mediterranean ports and 
Damascus. Caravans traversed that route, trafficking 
between Europe and Asia. Soldiers of all nations, 
merchants, proconsuls, legates, gilded nobles in their 
chairs of state with fifty outriders, travelled the highway 
and kept it a beaten thoroughfare. It was called "Gal- 
ilee of the Nations, " because so closely in touch with the 
world outside of Jewry. The Galileans took a passion- 
ate interest in public affairs. And in the exchange of 
news around the village well in Nazareth, morning and 
night, Mary heard tales of the extravagances in Rome, 
made possible by the spoil of a hundred provinces. 

Life in the Imperial City was becoming one long holiday, 
even for the rabble, due to the now almost daily distri- 
bution of bread and the circus. This had been a stipu- 
lation in the concordat which we gazed at in the first 
chapter. In the time of the Gracchi the plebs had been a 
self-respecting if brutal folk — they had demanded their 
share of the commonwealth, and had waged long civil 


wars for the same. But Augustus and his empire in- 
troduced a new idea — the patricians and the plebs were 
to strike hands, and together Uve on the backs of the 
slaves and of the natives in the provinces. Thus the 
delectable end of civil wars in Rome — the Pax Romana ! 
Accordingly, the largess to Rome's populace now of 
wheat, pork, olive oil, and wine, betokened no large-heart- 
edness on the part of the patrician donors; these doles 
were a part of the contract, whereby "peace " was secured 
— at the price of the enslavement of sixty million toilers. 
It was the same principle whereby Athens had put an 
end to her internecine broils by doles of show money and 
beeves to her free populace. 

So, now, by the Tiber. Toil in the provinces and by her 
slave class was so unremitting that Rome needed not to 
toil. She established nearly a hundred fete days for each 
year, with lavish games in the arena. Julius had set 
the rabble agape by presenting wild animals in silver 
cages; he turned into the arena four hundred lions 
at once, for mutual slaughter. Octavius, in the epitaph 
he prepared for himself, mentions that at his own expense 
he gave exhibitions in which thirty-five hundred gladiators 
met their death. As a variety, women and dwarfs were 
made to fight together. In the amphitheatrical duels, if 
any gladiator went hesitant to the fray, he was driven on 
by red-hot irons, with a "Give it to him" from the spec- 
tators — "Adhibite! Adhibite!" Rome encouraged this 
blood lust in her people — a brutal populace makes a 
formidable soldiery. At the amphitheatre, to see the 
killings, the vestal virgins had a box of honour. Naked 
women swam in basins in the sanded floor, in the presence 


of spectators of every age and sex. Combats of gladiators 
entertained the private banquets of the rich, so that the 
blood of the slaves imported from the provinces literally 
mingled with the wine on the boards. Alternating with 
these were voluptuous dances and pantomimes. The 
guests at these banquets were offered as part of the re- 
past the kisses of slave girls — many of them girls taken 
by force from their homes under Syrian skies. The prov- 
inces had become the feeding ground of a Rome given 
over to gluttony and sensual excess. Says Froude: 
"The endurance of the inequalities of life by the poor is 
the marvel of human society." And when we read his 
description of social conditions in Rome, contrasted with 
the lot of the working class in the provinces, we indeed 
marvel that the masses endured as patiently as they did, 
and that the revolution which, from Galilee as its centre, 
finally broke out, did not break out sooner. For Froude's 
picture will be accepted. He ever speaks forth the words 
of truth and soberness. 

The soil of Italy was fast passing into the hands of a 
few territorial magnates. The conquest of the world had 
turned the flower of the defeated nation into slaves. The 
prisoners, taken either after a battle or when cities sur- 
rendered unconditionally, were bought up steadily by 
contractors. Rome's once hardy mode of living degener- 
ated into grossness. The Romans ceased to believe. 
The spiritual quality was gone out of them, and the high 
society of Rome became a society of powerful animals with 
an enormous appetite for pleasure. Wealth poured in 
more and more, and luxury grew more unbounded. Pal- 
aces sprang up in the city, castles in the country, villas 


at pleasant places by the sea, with parks and fish-ponds 
and game preserves and gardens and vast retinues of 
servants. When natural pleasures had been indulged 
in to satiety, pleasures which were against nature were 
imported from the East to stimulate the exhausted appe- 
tite. Money was the one thought. Governors held 
their provinces for one, two, or three years; they went out 
bankrupt from extravagance, they returned with millions 
for fresh riot. To obtain a province was the first ambi- 
tion of a Roman noble. The commonwealth was a plutoc- 
racy. The rich were happy in the possession of all that 
they could desire. 

All of which things Mary kept, and pondered in 
her heart. For she was of the thinker type. The vi- 
bration of these world events swept the chords of her soul. 
She could not have escaped the vibrations had she wished: 
for she was more than an onlooker; she was a participant. 
The sword of the Roman cohort, collecting booty every- 
where on the inhabited earth, was piercing her own soul 
also. The rapacity of Rome and the Romanized Herod 
was taking pretty much all the living from that Nazareth 
home. Meat had left the table long ago. Now the meal 
in the family barrel was also running low. The record 
definitely affirms the poverty of this household. During 
the ceremony, "to present him to the Lord," the parents 
of Jesus offered for sacrifice "two young pigeons," in- 
stead of the usual gift. This was a special dispensation 
made by Jewish law — ever thoughtful of the poor — to 
those who were in penury: a young woman, "if she be 
not able to bring a lamb, shall bring two turtles or two 
young pigeons. " The destitution of this Nazareth house- 


hold must have been extreme, because it became a tra- 
dition, so that we find Paul referring to "his poverty," 
as to an everywhere understood and accepted fact. Nor 
does the family ever seem to have emerged out of this 
condition of hardship and exhausting toil. Eusebius 
states that two of the grand-nephews of Jesus — grand- 
sons of his brother Jude — on being summoned before 
the Emperor Domitian, mollified the bitterness of that 
potentate against them by showing their hands horned 
from hard labour. 

But though food is scarce, Mary must keep life going; 
because a babe is sucking at her breasts. Therefore herbs 
must be gathered and stewed into pottage — a humiliat- 
ing diet for a nursing mother. And her thoughts turn 
to those all-night banquets at Rome and Csesarea, where 
because of the so great excess of good things, the tanta- 
lized eaters resort to emetics in order that their gullets 
may be titillated with gormandizing a second time — 
Vomunt ut edunt ; edunt ut vomunt. The thought of it 
makes her bitter. She minds it not so much on her own 
account. But the starvation diet is thinning the milk 
in her breasts. A woman never so revolts against an 
unjust economic system with its skimpy nourishment, 
as when she is become a mother, and the asking eyes of a 
babe look into hers, a babe asking nutriment which 
it gets not. 

Wherefore the resolve in her soul becomes more set. 
We have seen that the " Magnificat" predestined the child 
before birth to a work of social reconstruction. Now 
also, that babe is drawing a spirit of insurrection in with 
the milk from his mother's teats. For that milk had been 


curdled by the thought of injustice, — ^these so steep ine- 
qualities in human fortune, whereby a part of mankind 
was in the depths and another part on the too intoxicating 
heights. Rome's sycophant, Herod, was enjoying an 
income of two million dollars a year, a fortune whose size 
for that time can be estimated by comparing it with the 
wage of a day labourer, "thy penny a day." We shall 
see in Jesus later a fierceness of aggression against the 
despoilers of the people. Some of the seeds of that 
fierce energy were being implanted in his soul while he 
was in swaddling bands. He knew it not at the time, 
but there was distilling into the soul of the babe, as he 
dug his face into his mother's breasts, a resolution to put 
down the mighty from their seats, to fill the hungry with 
good things, and to exalt them of low degree. 


**The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit." It 
seems that already something of his mother's energy 
and high-heartedness is being made over unto him. 

He received the usual education of a Jewish boy at the 
village school. He "increased in wisdom," — appro- 
priating the hived knowledge of the past, for his mental 
commissariat. Israel was the democratic nation of 
antiquity; like all democracies she stressed popular edu- 
cation. "Our ground is good," said Josephus the Jew, 
"and we work it to the utmost, but our chief ambition is 
for the education of our children." The text-book in 
the Jewish schools was the Old Testament. It is a 
library rather than a single book. Its writings are tied 
together by a strain which runs through them all — a 
fierce determination of independence. Probably no other 
collection of books contains in equal compass so explosive 
a social dynamic. The effect of putting it as a text- 
book into their pubUc schools, even into those of the 
elementary grades, goes far to account for the impassioned 
democracy of the Jews as a race, seen to this day. 

Besides book learning, Jesus as a boy was receiving 
through eye-gate and ear-gate a knowledge of world 
affairs. For he witnessed the insurrection under Judas 
of Galilee. Stung to madness by the imperturbable ad- 



vance of absolutism, the Galilean masses rise in a burst 
of fury. Ill-timed. Rome, infinite in oppression, issues 
a quiet command to Varus. He mobilizes two legions on 
Galilee's tiny spot of earth. The rebellion is crushed by 
sheer weight of soldiery. From the heights above Naza- 
reth, Jesus as a boy looks down nightly upon the fire of 
burning villages. Two thousand malcontents are crucified. 
By day the boy sees along every road these victims, lifted 
on crosses about two feet above the ground — purposely 
no higher than that, for it is Rome's command that 
the victims be left near enough to the ground for the 
wild beasts at night to leap up and tear their vitals. 
Some of these victims were doubtless known to the boy 
Jesus personally; for Galilee was a small district, and its 
people closely knit. The lad undoubtedly received some 
last messages concerning the Roman from delirious 
dying lips as he passed these crosses beside every path 
and highway — a fact well to remember when we are 
reading some of his fiercely bitter utterances later, against 
those who invade and oppress the people. 

It appears that early in life he became an apprentice 
under his father. He entered upon the trade of a car- 
penter, and we shall hear from his lips when he is become 
a teacher, allusions to his craft — "the splinter and the 
beam," "the green wood and the dry." Moreover, he 
seems to have taken to this career of hand-labour will- 
ingly, regarding it as his natural lot. During a visit to 
Jerusalem about this time, he lingered there after his 
parents had started homeward. Turning back, they 
recovered him. In their reproof they seem to have 
charged him with a lurking desire to abandon working- 


class Galilee and break into Jerusalem's aristocratic set 
with its haughty culture and its contempt of the common 
people. But he repudiates the notion. The peasants of 
Oberammergau in their passion play make his cleansing 
of the Temple the act which brought the antagonism to 
Jesus to a head and led to his crucifixion a week later. 
We shall see that their intuition here has guided them 
aright: "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." 
For the Temple was become the headquarters where the 
wealthy prince-and-priest clique were intrenched and by 
means of which they were fastening themselves on the 
backs of the people. The lad witnesses "the den of 
thieves," probably now for the first time. It fills up 
all the angle of his vision. It sows within that intense soil 
seeds that will germinate unseen until he is thirty. He 
goes back to Nazareth. He becomes a carpenter. He 
takes his place among the world's workers. 

His occupation as a carpenter brought him intimately 
into the lives of the people. The trades were not then 
specialized as they have become to-day. The carpenter 
did practically all of the constructive work, both within 
and without the house. He was called upon to make 
everything, from the rocker of the cradle to the bier of 
burial. An admirer of Julian the Apostate, at a time when 
the Christian tradition seemed overthrown, taunted a 
follower of the Nazarene with the taunt, "What is The 
Carpenter doing now? " "He is making a coffin," was the 
reply. Julian's death soon thereafter preserved the 
anecdote. It is of interest as a sidelight on the work of a 
carpenter in ancient times. He was the tool maker, and 
fashioned the rude instruments with which the farmer 


worked his field. Justyn Martyr speaks of Jesus as hav- 
ing made "ploughs and yokes." The carpenter was 
also the cabinet-maker of the day, and built the crude 
household furniture. He had to fell his own logs in the 
mountains, saw them into beams by hand, and drag them 
laboriously back to the village. The axe is a familiar 
instrument in the Old Testament; it is the tool of peace 
and the weapon of war. We meet it at the threshold of 
the Gospels. And here now, in his carpenter days, we 
see Jesus, a wood-cutter in the mountains, "as men that 
lifted up axes upon a thicket of trees. " 

The work of a country carpenter necessitates constant 
journeyings. Joseph and his son in their work-travels 
together probably covered much of the Galilee district. 
Li his public career later, we find Jesus circulating among 
the towns surrounding Nazareth, as among friends. These 
friendships must have been cemented during his journeys 
as a workman, and while fitting the planks for a neigh- 
bour's door. His reputation as a skilled artisan also must 
have helped to prepare him a welcome and a hearing when 
he came to those homes as a teacher. For Jesus was 
a master of his craft. No man can take pride in his work 
except that work be done with efficiency and conscience. 
And Jesus took pride in his work. In that saying of his, 
unearthed in the recently discovered papyri, he makes 
reference to his days as a carpenter with a resonancy and 
a joyousness that are unmistakable: "Raise the stone 
and thou shalt find me: cleave the wood and there I am 
also" — words reminiscent of this time in his life when he 
piled stones for the foundation of a building, and split 
logs into beams. He even seems to have taken pride 


in the workmanlike qualities of his father, and of his 
descent from artisan loins : * * My father worketh hitherto, 
and I work. " It is true that this is to splinter off the 
passage in question from its context. But there is jus- 
tification for this use of the Gospel records. Those 
records lay no claim to continuity. In the form in which 
they have come down to us they are memorabilia, a col- 
lection of sayings gathered up from the original auditors 
years after his death. In many cases the connection 
has been hopelessly lost, and can be restored only by 
a free process of selection, piercing the broken torso 
out of fragments. We need not enter into the disputes 
which rage around corrupted passages. A portrait of 
The Carpenter shall not be arrived at by a microscopism 
of the text, but rather by the set and drift of the records 
as a whole. His was not the logical temperament, fas- 
tening link to link. His outgivings impress one as the 
ejecta of a volcanic nature, the pressure behind being too 
explosive to pause for unity. 

And in this matter of the workmanlike quality of this 
carpenter, we are not left in doubt. In an unmistakable 
passage we behold in him the kind of builder whose motto 
was "thorough." He "foundationed" his houses "upon 
the rock." "And the rain descended, and the floods 
came, and winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it 
fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. " In a limestone 
country such as Palestine, a rock foundation can be ob- 
tained almost anywhere, if the builder is but dogged and 
"digs deep"; and the underwash of rainstorms has then 
no power to terrify. He had the true workman's contempt 
for the "fool man" who, to save expense, tells his work- 


men to skimp the foundations. In the address from which 
these words are taken, Jesus was speaking to an audience 
of his Galilean neighbours, who would quickly have 
pointed it out if his own record as a builder had not 
squared with the kind of a carpenter he was describing. 
Further, his, "Take my yoke upon you," hints a tool 
maker who shaped his ox yokes with painstaking care 
so as to fit smoothly onto the neck, and who took honest 
pride in the fact. A number of his disciples were inti- 
mately known to him before he entered upon his public 
career. The fact that they responded willingly when he 
summoned them to enlist under him for the Cause, is 
eloquent of the respect he must have inspired in them 
back in his carpenter days. Furthermore, we find in 
him a fine scorn of unworkmanlike qualities in men of 
other trades. To plough a straight furrow requires in a 
ploughman that he fix his eye on some objective point, 
and steer toward it. To be glancing carelessly around 
betrays itself in crooked and uneven furrows when the 
work is done. Jesus declares that he had no use for such 
a man, one who, *liaving put his hand to the plough, looks 
back." The accumulation of evidence is unmistakable: 
The Carpenter of Nazareth was "a workman that needeth 
not to be ashamed." 

When he emerged from his wage-earner period, there 
was noticeable in him an inalienable dignity, matured 
within him by years of acknowledged mastership as a 
workman. This inwrought sense of mastery tells in his 
every move. The hinges of his knee had never been 
oiled with the oil of cringing. His eye possessed power. 
This working-class agitator had a way of beholding a 


person in silence. And the trait must have been char- 
acteristic. For we read frequently, "He looked upon 
them, and said — " His port spelt the majesty of self- 
respect. He even enjoins it upon his disciples, warning 
them against mean-spiritedness. Sending them on a 
propagandist tour, he tells them that in each village they 
enter they are to claim hostelry at the chief house: "In- 
quire who in it is worthy." And any house closing its 
door against them writes itself down thereby as the abode 
of stupidity. He himself glanced up at many a westering 
sun, without knowing where he would lay his head that 
night. Nevertheless no wealth of hospitality could warp 
him as guest from straightest truth- telling. "Master, 
we know that thou art true, neither carest thou for any 
man; for thou regardest not the person of men." Oft- 
times he invited himself to a night's lodging, and it was 
always with the air of conferring a favour. Now and 
then the overture was rejected; whereupon he concealed 
not his contemptuous pity at their lack of insight — 
"let the dead bury their dead." In him never a touch 
of fawning flattery. His bearing throughout was that 
of a spirited labourer, who had been accustomed to doing 
an honest day's work and demanding an honest day's 
pay. He bristled at any faintest squint of charity: 
"The labourer is worthy of his hire." 

For eighteen years Jesus worked thus as a day labourer. 
We find him ever afterward identifying himself with 
the working class. Passages like, "which of you in- 
tending to build"; "the kingdom of heaven is like unto a 
man that is a householder, which went out early in the 


morning to hire labourers"; "the burden and heat of the 
day"; "no man hath hired us"; and the references to 
the patching of worn garments and hewing down trees for 
firewood, give evidence of a working-class conscious- 
ness. We find him mentioning the moth and rust as two 
of the serious distressments of life, hinting thereby of a 
household in Nazareth so near to the poverty line that the 
moth worm, eating the only garment in the chest, or rust 
cankering the solitary and priceless tool on which live- 
lihood depended, were disasters which swelled some- 
times into tragedy. "Sufl&cient unto the day is the evil 
thereof, " is the articulate sigh of the proletariat of the 
ancient world worked to the point of exhaustion, and 
for whom the zest of life has well-nigh evaporated. 

Nor was this alignment of himself on the side of the 
toiler and the lowly, a pose on his part. It is easy to prate 
of equality; demagogues affect it as one of the tricks of 
the trade. But in Jesus the proletary accent was no 
affectation. It was the unconscious mind of one born and 
bred to a life of manual labour. All of his disciples 
were workingmen. One of the charges of the Pharisees 
against him was that he did not sufficiently encourage 
fastings. The explanation is, that to him and his band 
a slender diet was the ordinary state; they needed not 
for their soul's welfare the artificial abstemiousness of the 
Pharisees. The cultured class some centuries later 
seized upon The Carpenter and appropriated him for their 
own. Naturally, to these, the only portion of his life 
that had aught of interest was his career as a teacher. 
Hence it has come about that the traditional biographies 
of Jesus are confined to the last three years of his life. 


But through a period of six times three years he earned 
his bread sweatingly, knowing at first hand the sorrows 
of labour and acquainted with its grief. During this 
long period his fellow townsmen apparently detected 
no other trait in him save that of a workingman. For 
they express an unfeigned surprise when he starts out in 
another guise: "Is not this the carpenter?" 

Moreover, in laying aside his mechanic's apron for the 
teacher's cloak, there was no real break. The two careers 
were one. It was because his work as an artisan was 
being brought to naught by the industrial despotism that 
like a creeping paralysis was advancing upon the country, 
that he set out to arouse the people against that despotism. 
As a teacher he was still the workingman — a summons to 
workingmen to arouse against Rome's domination which 
was a menace everywhere to workingmen. For con- 
ditions were fast becoming impossible to a free and self- 
respecting artisan. The industrial life which the Roman 
Empire was riveting upon the world was based on slavery. 
This economic tragedy lay hidden at the heart of the 
ancient world. Without an understanding of it, one shall 
not enter into the words and works of Jesus. 

First along, slavery had been the result of war, the 
prisoners taken in battle being shipped to the markets and 
sold as slaves. But the Romans, with their excessive 
"practicality," soon improved on this. From being the 
result, they turned it into the cause of war. For they 
had found that the sale of the prisoners not only paid 
the expenses of a campaign, but usually left a tidy sum 
over as profit. Many students declare that business to- 
day is war. With Rome, war was business. Often her 


chief interest in a campaign was the kind of slaves which 
would be sent in from the front. A war in the territories 
of Greece was popular and easily found financial backing, 
because the prisoners captured there usually had good 
looks and some literary or artistic skill. We find Cicero 
in one of his letters complaining that Caesar's campaign 
in Britain would bring only an illiterate class of slaves 
into the market. Contractors followed up the Roman 
armies and after each battle bought the prisoners. Auc- 
tions on the battlefields were conducted by the military 
quaestors, representing the State. The sums obtained 
from these sales can be estimated from the fact that, 
during his campaign in Gaul, Ciesar on one occasion alone 
sold fifty-three thousand slaves, replenishing thereby 
his war chest. In Epirus, Paulus Amelius sold one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand. After the victories of LucuUus 
in Pontus, the prisoners were so numerous that the price 
fell to about eighty cents a head. 

The slave shops in Rome, in the Via Sacra, Via Suburra, 
and at the Temple of Castor, were busy daily, taking 
care of these streams of human property that were 
pouring in from the provinces. The sediles supervised 
these sales, in order to collect the state tax of 4 per 
cent, of the slave's purchase price. These sediles regu- 
lated the traffic, guaranteed the purchasers against fraud, 
and issued edicts to that end. For the slave dealers 
— brokers in human flesh — were experts in improving 
the physical appearance of their slaves for purposes of 
sale. Leanness was common among them (not strange, 
considering that the drink of slaves was a kind of wine, of 
which vinegar and sea- water were the chief constituents). 


Terebinth was therefore rubbed on their bodies to relax 
the skin and cause the flesh to appear plumper. Means 
were employed to delay the nubile age, or to cause 
slaves to retain as long as possible the appearance of 
youth. Buyers sometimes sought the advice of veteri- 
nary surgeons to pronounce upon the physical conditions 
of a slave before purchasing. The conmioner slaves were 
exhibited in gangs in the market place. The more valu- 
able sort were kept in cages or wooden booths, where 
they could be inspected more at leisure. Before the 
moment of auction the dealer caused his slaves to dis- 
play their strength by lifting heavy weights, running, 
leaping, etc.; and also their accomplishments, if any, 
such as reading and writing. 

Roman law severely punished frauds in the transaction. 
The seller was compelled to state the vices or diseases of 
the slave. Defective eyesight, or hearing, epilepsy, 
phthisis, varicose veins, habits of idleness, fits of coward- 
ice or bad temper, a dull mentality, gave the purchaser 
the right to return the slave and get his money back. 
Purchasers were especially warned against buying slaves 
who might be suffering from nervous diseases. An edict 
declared it a fraud to offer for sale a slave who had ever 
attempted suicide. Another bar to a sale was melan- 
choly (how harsh soever the treatment he meted out, a 
Roman master felt greviously injured if the slave became 
melancholy under it and so reduced his selling price). 
The most searching inquiries were made from slave dealers 
as to any restive tendencies displayed by the slave, and 
especially as to his records of attempts to escape. The 
letter "F" branded on the brow of a recovered fugitive 


meant that he would bring the lowest price in the market. 
Varro says that agricultural implements are divided 
into three classes: (1) those which are articulate, that is 
to say, slaves; (2) those which are semi-articulate, such 
as oxen; (3) those which are inarticulate, such as wagons. 
Slaves in the Italian vineyards had to be robust and 
intelligent. As these qualities would render them dan- 
gerous the vine dressers were made to work in chains. 
Every estate had a prison in which disobedient slaves 
were punished. Professional slave catchers went after 
runaways. Sometimes the feet of a recaptured slave 
were amputated. Cicero tells of a slave whose tongue 
was cut out before he was crucified, lest he should divulge 
from the cross the crimes he had seen. Slaves for use 
as gladiators were hired for three dollars a show, with 
an indemnity to the owner in case of death. There were 
contractors who made a specialty of slaves intended for 
use as gladiators. Rich estates had families of gladiators, 
and felt themselves honoured by the number of famous 
fighters turned out from their "string," much as the owner 
of a racing stud to-day is known by the prize winners 
from his stable. The litter of a rich Roman was carried 
by special bearers — lecticarii — and it was the fash- 
ionable fad to choose these from Syria or Asia Minor. 
The majority of male and female musicians in Rome had 
also been taken from Syria. It was found that slaves 
taken from that province were subtle, ingenious, and 
possessed of a thousand dexterities. They, therefore, 
furnished a large bulk of the dancers, rope-walkers, 
and mimics, who ministered pleasure to these bar- 
baric Westerners, drunk with an excess of energy and 


blood pressure. Other "human implements" were torch- 
bearers, to light the way of their masters through the 
lampless streets. The number of slaves held by the 
Romans — about two thirds of the population of the city 
of Rome were slaves — can be estimated from the number 
four thousand, who were massacred in one house at a 
stroke. The Emperor Trajan during a carnival sent ten 
thousand slaves into the arena. 

Not strange, therefore, that the provinces were con- 
stantly being ransacked to supply the slave markets in 
Rome with these "articulate instruments." ^Rome was 
rich: but only with the riches of successful brigandage. 
She was not a producer of wealth. She was an annexer 
of the wealth produced by others. Her literature be- 
trays contempt for artisan labour. Her very word for 
property — mancipium — meant, "that which has been 
seized by the hand." To work the workers, to farm the 
farmers — this was her deliberate, her conscious pro- 
gramme. Said Cicero: "We admire a rich purple dye, 
but we despise the dyer as a vile artisan." And he asks, 
"What honourable thing can come out of a shop?" The 
inevitable thing, in a civilization based on slavery. Both 
Plato and Aristotle regarded mechanical toil as derog- 
atory to the status of a citizen. Said the former: 
"Nature has made no shoemaker nor smith. Such oc- 
cupations degrade the people who exercise them." 
Reasoned Aristotle: "There are in the human species 
individuals as inferior to others as animals are to men. 
Destined by nature to slavery, there is nothing better 
for them." Xenophon was at pains to state: "The arts 


that are called mechanical are also, and naturally, held 
in bad repute in our cities." And he explains: "The 
people who give themselves up to manual labour are 
never promoted to public office, and with good reason. 
The greater part of them, condemned to be seated the 
whole day long, some even to endure the heat of the fire 
continually, cannot fail to be changed in body, and it is 
almost inevitable that the mind be affected. " In Rome 
the one avenue to esteem was successful rapacity. Her 
empire can be likened to a huge wolf, the jaw and fangs 
of which were her far-flung legions, with the city of Rome 
as the belly of the beast into which the rich morsels 
flowed after Ihey had been sufficiently pulverized by the 
molars and grinders. 

There are those who would admire Jesus more if he 
had left world politics alone. But world politics would 
not leave him alone. He, his kindred, his fellow country- 
men, were exposed hourly to the press-gang, with its 
summons into the unspeakable conditions in the slave 
stable of some Roman lord. Daily the collar was rivet- 
ing about his own neck. To have asked him to concern 
himself only with "religion" and to let world politics 
alone, would be like asking a person to forget a pack of 
wolves leaping at him with a three months' hun- 
ger gnawing their vitals. Economic despotism is a 
fire which a people must put out or it will put them out. 
The Old Testament preachers had shown up the puerility 
of crying peace, peace, when there is no peace. Jesus 
declared war on the capitalism of his day, because capi- 
talism was declaring war on him. Rome's arm reached 
easily into Syria, and was ever drawing off the flower of 


its population into her slave kennels. During his boy- 
hood Jesus had seen the entire population of Sepphoris, 
a town near Nazareth, sold by the Romans into slavery. 
Only fifty years before, Rome had captured thirty thou- 
sand Jews and made them into slaves. And less than two 
score years after Jesus' death she sent her armies into 
Palestine and carried away one hundred thousand of his 
fellow countrymen into slavery. These instances were 
the result of war, does some one object? But war was pre- 
cisely Rome's way of supplying her slave markets. Be a 
province never so peaceably minded, the moment Rome's 
market needed more slaves, a casus belli was readily 
found. For with the Romans, war was business — 
entered upon from business motives and conducted on 
strictly business principles. Her wars were freeboot- 
ing raids. And no province in the empire realized this 
more poignantly than Syria and Galilee. Jesus an- 
nounced as his mission, "to preach deliverance to the 
slaves." He foretold the fate which stared his nation 
in the face: "They shall fall by the edge of the sword, 
and shall be led away slaves into all nations. " And his 
words draw a picture of the nightmare terror that was 
upon every home, as the Roman slave-catchers drew 
near: "There shall be two men in one bed; the one shall 
be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall 
be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other 
left. Two men shall be in the field ; the one shall be taken, 
and the other left." 

The attitude of a self-respecting Jew toward Rome 
was quite what would have been the attitude of an in- 
telligent and educated negro in the South before the war, 


or in Africa exposed to the merciless approach of Arab 
slave-dealers. For Rome denied to her subject peoples 
every human right. A slave's only security against ill- 
treatment was his market value. As he became old, 
therefore, this safeguard slowly fell from around him. 
At auctions old slaves had no selling value, and were often 
thrown into the bargain for good measure. Inasmuch as 
the keep of a slave was about a hundred dollars a year, 
whereas the average price of a new slave was seventy-five, 
a Roman owner often found it more "practical" to kill 
an old slave than to keep on feeding him. In case of a 
tedious sickness, likewise, it was often cheaper for the 
owner to put the slave to death — like a horse with a 
broken leg — than to nurse him through a long conva- 
lescence. There was an island in the Tiber where sick 
slaves were exposed. The slave door-keepers in great 
houses were chained to the door-posts, and were sold with 
the house, as forming in a way part of the wall. Terribly 
familiar was the cut of thongs on their faces. Slaves were 
also used in war, being thus compelled to assist in bringing 
new slaves into the market, and thereby cheapening 
their own value. Not long ago the Esquiline Cemetery 
was excavated, and there was discovered a pit one thou- 
sand feet long and three hundred feet deep. We have 
Peterson's authority that this was an ancient burial 
ground for slaves, who were thrown into it along with 
the carcasses of animals and the refuse of the city. 

He should have escaped the vortex of world politics? 
Jesus could not escape that vortex. This carpenter family 
in Nazareth was one of Rome's assets, and could no more 
have dodged the enrolment lists of the empire than a 


horse could disappear from the account books of a 
carefully conducted landed estate and the fact not 
be noted. If the empire allowed the members of that 
family to remain as freemen, it was only that it might 
tax their free labour, and with the sword of possible 
slavery constantly over their heads. A paid spydom 
watched that Nazareth family — as it watched every 
other working-class family in the empire — and if by 
extraordinary saving they had put aside a sum against 
sickness or old age, it would have been taken from them, 
if necessary, at the point of the sword. Jesus used this 
as an argument against engrossment by his fellow coun- 
trymen in piling up wealth: "Wheresoever the carcass 
is, there will the eagles be gathered together." (The 
eagle was Rome's military insignium, and was borne 
at the head of her cohorts.) The desperate poverty of 
Jesus and his disciples is shown in a remark he made 
to them at the last supper, when he was contemplating 
armed resistance to the antagonism that menaced him: 
"He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and 
buy one"; that is, "let him pawn his coat and raise the 

In addition to war, debt was a gateway into slavery. 
By Roman law a debt running over thirty days put the 
man into the hands of the creditor until the debt was 
paid. By order of the magistrate he was removed to the 
creditor's house, imprisoned there, and chained. It was 
stipulated that the chains with which he was loaded should 
not weigh more than fifteen pounds. The insolvent per- 
son was publicly exposed on three consecutive market 
days, and the amount of the debt declared. If no payer 


came, the person could then be sold into slavery. As a 
freeman could be impressed to serve his overlord in a 
military campaign, this might happen at the period of 
greatest economic inconvenience — in the case of a 
carpenter, during the working season of the year. The 
freeman would thereupon return from the campaign 
to find himself and family hopelessly in debt. The sUght- 
est accident, an industrial stoppage for a few weeks, 
would often be enough to sink at least one member of 
the family below the line of freemen and into the servile 
class from which few ever emerged. We detect some 
bitter experience, perhaps of a near kinsman or friend, 
in the graphic description of Jesus: "When thou goest 
with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in 
the way give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from 
him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge de- 
liver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into 
prison. I tell thee thou shalt not depart thence till 
thou hast paid the very last mite." 

The workingman who escaped these two high-roads 
leading into slavery, namely war and debt, was not there- 
by out of danger. He was slowly crushed by another 
pressure, from which was no escape. This was the 
competition whereby slave labour dragged free labour 
ever down to its own level. It was the custom of a 
slave owner to let out his slaves by the day. Thus slave 
metal workers, slave carpenters, slave shoemakers, would 
be hired out at so much a day, as working horses are 
hired out in our time. A slave could be maintained for 
less than a freeman, because his food was little more 
than bran and vinegar, his clothing often but a clout 


around the loins — not always even that — his sleeping 
place at night a stable under the ground; and there was 
no provision needed for old age, since it was intended that 
the slave should die before he became old, the average 
working life of the slave class, as a matter of fact, being 
eight years. Therefore he could work for less than the 
freeman. But the free artisan had to sell his labour in 
the same market. Therefore, the iron law of competition. 
The wages of the freeman steadily approached the lower 
level, a level just sufficient to supply him also with bran 
and a clout. "Why stand ye here all the day idle?" 
" Because no man hath hired us " — tells of bitter humilia- 
tions experienced by the speaker himself. It was the 
law that worked so hardly on the poor whites in the South 
under slavery; but there they had the colour line, which 
operated as an automatic check against their engulfment 
as slaves; while in Nazareth there was no such colour 
line. Thus the free Galilean poor, ground between the 
capitalist class and the slave class as between two mill- 
stones, gravitated toward slavery by a universal gravi- 
tation. It was the old law — the slow crushing out of 
the middle class, in an industrial system based on exploi- 
tation; the rich tending to become richer, the poor tending 
to become poorer. Jesus spoke out of his own gruelling 
experience as a wage earner, when he described the times 
as one in which "to him which hath shall begiven, and 
he shall have more abundance; but from him which hath 
not shall be taken away even that which he hath." 

Asia was to the Romans a gold mine. The Romans 
about now were in need of a gold mine. Southern Italy 
was shattered by the civil wars* Northern Italy was 


crude, and only at the beginning of its development. 
The expeditions of Lucullus and Pompey to Asia, some 
time before this, had brought back large sums, which had 
enabled Rome to live a roaring life. But by now this 
treasure had been dissipated. As her funds ran low, her 
appetites ran high. It was an era of spendthriftness. 
Roman matrons vied with each other in sumptuous dis- 
play. There was a fanatical haste to acquire wealth 
and to enjoy it. All classes were bitten with the craze 
of ostentation. Expenditure outran income. A barbaric 
fervour arose for the things which money will buy. Credit 
notes were given at high usury. Riotous living wove its 
web of extravagance — a network of debt which en- 
meshed the whole of Italy. 

In contrast with this raw and barbarous West, was 
the East with its long-standing civilizations, its wealth 
and industry and arts. Here were great manufacturing 
towns, great commercial routes, important centres of 
learning and of a vigorous intellectual life. Not only 
were her districts enormous in area; they were also 
populous, wealthy, fertile, rich in ancient culture. 
Here were busy centres of industry, cities of teeming 
commerce. The East was the home of the fibre-bearing 
plants — the cotton, the hemp, the flax. There were 
great weaving factories, purple-dyeing centres of wide 
renown. Her textile craftsmen made coverings of 
embroidered wool and curtains of gold-shot fabrics. 
Her forges were busy turning out weapons, files, ham- 
mers, and articles of wrought iron and beaten metal. 
Her bronze foundries were active, and the workshops of 
her artists. Is it any wonder that Italy turned in this 


direction and away from the cold, gray skies of northern 

Asia became Rome's El Dorado. Italian adventurers, 
bankrupt through extravagance at home, sought here to 
restore their fortunes, and perchance to emulate the fabu- 
lous career of Alexander. An official appointment in 
Asia was eagerly sought by young Italians as a career 
of glorious piracy. Each year saw a shipload of these 
buccaneers unload on Asia's coast — friends of the newly 
appointed governor, petty functionaries, officers of the 
legions, their relatives and clients — and proceed to 
saddle themselves on the backs of the natives. A swarm 
of human locusts overrunning the land and devouring its 
substance ! The exactions of LucuUus and Pompey , with 
the long-time drain of the great Italian corporations of 
tax farmers, had already bled the East to exhaustion. 
But these troops of greedy adventurers — a fresh horde 
each year — would not be denied. As the springs of 
wealth began to fail, they pressed their exactions by every 
refinement of rapacity. Enjoying the open patronage 
of the governor in their systematic pillage of a province, 
few were the devices either of fraud or of violence which 
their ingenuity left untried. Living in luxury at the 
expense of the people, and backed by a military despotism, 
they sold every sort of favour at exorbitant prices. 
There was a systematic application of violence. Let 
any householder resist, a word from the governor would 
set a cohort of soldiery loose upon his home, and, if need 
be, upon the entire village. Plundering a world to adorn 
their country-seats, young Italians, after a year or two 
in the East, would carry back litter loads of gold. Virtue 


was not safe. These legalized freebooters, trooping over 
from Italy on buccaneering careers, demanded the 
right to enter any home, and take the wife, it might 
be, as a concubine. The soldiery backed the officials, 
and in return the officials gave to the soldiery an almost 
unlimited rein of license. "Legion" was Rome's name 
for her military units; in Palestine, the natives got to 
apply that term to signify devils. Italy, ruined by a 
hundred years of civil war, turned upon the East its 
insatiable maw for wealth and pleasure. 

When the call of appetite was upon her, nothing to 
Rome was sacred. To provide for her gross and sensual 
pleasures, fair maidens were searched out from all nations, 
to pine in the slave quarters of the Roman lord. Jesus 
had sisters. Personal attractiveness was a trait in his 
family, for he is pictured as rarely winsome to people. 
Grace of form and face was there hereditary — artists 
have been guided by a sure instinct in universally 
picturing Mary as beautiful. His mother and brothers 
are mentioned throughout the record to the end. But 
his sisters suddenly disappear from the narrative, never 
to re-emerge. In their place we find in him as their 
eldest brother a fierceness of invective against the lustful 
and degrading rule which, like a continuation of Tiber's 
muddy stream, was overflooding a world with its defile- 
ment. So crushed had some of the natives become that 
they even came to count daughters an asset, as a means 
of possibly placating the raven of the invader. The con- 
text is lost so that we have only conjecture; but it must 
have been some exhibition of despotic rule more brutal 
than ordinary, to wring from the lips of The Carpenter 


the epithets "swine-snouted" and "currish," as applied to 
the oppressors of the people: "give not that which is holy 
unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine; 
lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again 
and rend you. " Lest this picture of Roman pillage car- 
ried to the point of rape should be too gross to pass 
creditably into modern ears, Ferrero is summoned to the 
stand : " There was still, especially in Asia, much treasure 
to be won by Western enterprise. Capitalists were able 
to secure mortgages on future harvests, to seize statues, 
pictures and goldsmiths' work, houses, estates, public 
buildings, and finally the native inhabitants themselves, 
reducing to slavery all peasants who were unable to pay 
their debts, or accepting in lieu of payment the sons and 
daughters of their debtors. " 

Rome was a parasite on the face of the earth. Her 
stateliness was at the expense of impoverished hamlets 
such as Nazareth, dotting the landscape with their desola- 
tions. A hundred million were in penury, in order that 
two hundred thousand Romans might riot in sensuality 
and excess. The death of nations marked the trail of 
the Roman legions across the world. ** Pax Rom ana ! " The 
"Roman peace," vaunted in song and marble, was the 
peace of a world in death. Even Tacitus had to admit 
it: "where they make a desert they call it 'peace*. " 

Under such an industrialism, and amid social conditions 
of this stripe, Jesus tried for nearly a score of years to 
support himself and the family dependent upon him — 
Joseph seems to have died or been killed — by his craft 
as a carpenter. At last the fatal pressure of Roman 


expansion put him upon action. That he endured the 
conditions so long, bespeaks a nature not given to restless- 
ness nor chargeable with excitability. That he rebelled 
at last bespeaks the encroachment of an industrial 
servitude that was humanly impossible and that called 
for change. 


There are three men in the New Testament who 
are notably outspoken against the economic oppressions 
of the day; and they are from the same family. They 
are Jesus, his younger brother James, and his cousin John 
Baptist. This must have been more than a coin- 
cidence. Such a constellation of dominant and similar 
orbs in the same part of the social heavens is by cause. 
It argues some central sun which conjointly threw them 
off, the jQaming source of their flaming orbits. 

Jesus, as a renovator of the social edifice, we are behold- 
ing. As to James, his letter in the latter pages of the 
New Testament catalogues him as a fomenter of the 
people, an economic come-outer : " Go to now, ye rich men, 
weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon 
you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are 
moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the 
rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat 
your flesh as it were fire. Behold, the hire of the la- 
bourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of 
you kept back by fraud, crieth." No red-eyed haranguer 
from a cart tail to-day can go beyond James in his out- 
cry against the oppressive inequalities of human fortune. 
Traditionally he became known as "the Rampart of the 
People," and he met his death at the hands of the Jeru- 



salemite aristocracy. The relentlessness with which he 
pillories the "man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel," 
contrasted with his fellow-feeling for the "poor man in 
vile raiment," bespeaks some enterings of the iron into 
his own soul — perhaps back in the Nazareth home 
during his boyhood, amidst penury of the grinding, the 
embittering sort. 

As to the Baptist, his name calls up a picture of vehe- 
mency — a fiery reformer, a staunch protester, the Old 
Ironsides of the New Testament. He belonged so decid- 
edly to the proletariat that his very clothes and food were 
remarked — raiment of coarse camel's wool, with a 
crudely tanned skin about his loins for a girdle, and his 
food dried locusts ground into a powder and mixed with 
honey which he gathered from the rocks and trees. 
Some of the privileged class come to hear him — Phari- 
sees who stood for a criminal quietism, Sadducees who 
stood openly for acquiescence with the Roman invader, 
and both lined up against the toiling masses. John to 
their face called them a "generation of vipers." It 
seems that John's extremity of utterance and his even, 
for that day, crude garb and pauper diet, caused criticism. 
Jesus defended him: "What went ye out into the wilder- 
ness to see? A reed shaken in the wind, a man clothed 
in soft raiment? Behold they that wear soft clothing are 
in kings' houses." Even he later on sought to check 
John's turbulent speech, his zeal without knowledge, his 
sturm-und-drang. But that there was a similarity of 
spirit between John and Jesus appears from the fact 
that Herod Antipas — who, after he had beheaded John, 
saw Jesus — sincerely believed the latter to be John 


risen from the dead. If Jesus was the still small voice 
of the Restoration Movement, John was its whirlwind. 
He was "a burning and a shining light." 

The question asks itself. How came it that these three 
sprang from the same family.^ James might be explained 
from Jesus, for a lad is peculiarly open to influence from 
an elder brother. But not so John. John was six 
months older than Jesus, and was the first to appear in 
public. Some fourth one must have been the inspiration 
centre for the three. And signs point to Mary as this 
fourth one. We have seen the influence wherewith, be- 
fore his birth, she influenced Jesus. We have seen the 
hunger-bitten period during which she suckled him, so 
that the milk he drew in had been distilled from hot 
rebellious blood within her. It is unthinkable that she 
ceased this work of education after she had weaned him. 
The cousin John, of so near the same age as her own 
first-born, must have been a frequent visitor in that home. 
For the two families were intimate. The record opens 
with the story of a visit of one to the other. And the de- 
tails of that visit breathe a natural and unforced oneness 
between them, making them seem more like one family 
than two. Thus John must have come frequently under 
the influence of Mary, and imbibed her spirit. 

Thought of Mary calls up thoughts of that other woman 
of antiquity, Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi. In the 
period when liberty in Rome was departing and the nobles 
were enclosing the public lands away from the common 
people — much as the lords treated the commons in 
English towns — Cornelia stood forth and inspired her 
son Tiberius Gracchus to become a tribune of the people 


He did so. Endowed with her spirit, he demanded a 
restoration of their lands to the people. In the midst of 
the agitation he was killed. Nothing daunted, with a 
Spartan, yes, a Galilean, supremacy of the patriotic over 
the maternal within her, Corneha raised up her second 
son, Caius, to take his elder brother 's place. Her letters 
egging him on to the dangerous venture are still extant, 
and are a contribution to Latin literature. Caius was 
also killed, but not until reforms had been eflPected in 
Rome's agrarian policy. 

Woman was more influential in the life of the ancient 
world than the history of those times, written by men, 
has accredited unto her. And Mary, one of the strongest- 
minded women known to history, played a part in the 
drama of this world 's affairs which refuses to be ignored. 
Perhaps she kept before herself the image of that other 
woman — her contemporary — Li via, mistress of the 
imperial palace on the Tiber. Here also was a wife and 
mother of force, and of considerable influence in public 
affairs. But with this the resemblance ceases. Personal 
ambition spells Livia 's character. She divorces her elderly 
husband, and marries Augustus straightway, she being 
then within three months of motherhood. Thereupon 
she dedicates her life to intrigue. She secures the acces- 
sion of her son Tiberius to the throne by compassing — so 
rumour affirms — the death of Marcellus, of Caius Caesar, 
of Lucius Caesar, of Agrippa Postumus, and by even has- 
tening the death of Augustus himself. Rumour has prob- 
ably exaggerated. But, allowing much for shrinkage 
her character stands portrayed in pigments of a suffi- 
ciently sinister hue. Thus confronted each other these 


two, Mary and Livia, each of them strong-minded, and 
each bringing forth fruit after her kind. Livia, mistress 
of the Palatine, a world at her feet, founds a lineage of 
decadence. Mary, in a mud-plastered hut hid in the 
Lebanon range, founds a dynasty of free spirits more 
enduring than the dynasty of the Caesars. 

Both Jesus and John Baptist show a familiarity with 
the writings of Isaiah. Mary's own literary style be- 
trays her delvings into the spirit of that fiery Old Testa- 
ment publicist. We can well believe, therefore, that dur- 
ing many a rainy season when outdoor work would be 
suspended, Mary gathered the boys around her — was 
not this method of parental instruction expressly enjoined 
by Old Testament statute.^ — and nourished their grow- 
ing spirits on the intense poet-patriots of Hebrew litera- 
ture. We find Simon and Jude, younger brothers of Jesus, 
numbered later in the active revolutionary party. These 
also must have sat in this family group around Mary 's 
knee, and listened to her readings and expoundings of their 
nation 's ancestral voices. "Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis !" 

Politically and economically, the times grow steadily 
worse. Livia in Rome has now accomplished her intrigue 
— she has put Tiberius on the throne in the room of 
Augustus. The latter, in the fore part of his reign, had 
made a pretence of constitutional government. But later, 
even under him, the tyranny had become naked and un- 
ashamed. A small group of people on the banks of the 
Tiber owned the civilized earth. The world was the prop- 
erty of a close corporation, which Augustus sought to 
restrict still closer. The Code of Augustus was a code 


of class jealousy, designed to promote privilege and ex- 
clusiveness. It operated to prevent slaves from becom- 
ing freemen, and to crowd freemen down to the level of 
slaves. Its sole thought was to diminish liberty. In 
his dying injunction to Tiberius, Augustus counselled 
him to refuse any more extensions of the Roman 

Tiberius faithfully followed the counsel. Perhaps we 
must not credit all that Tacitus says of this emperor, 
how that Tiberius studied out new forms of vice, so that 
new words had to be coined to describe his vilenesses. 
Nevertheless the fact that the appellation, "Enemy of the 
Human Race," came to attach to him, is eloquent. He 
sent a new procurator to Palestine — Gratus. Under 
Gratus things went from bad to worse. At last his fiscal 
oppressions became unendurable, and the Jews sent a 
deputation to Rome to get relief. Tiberius 's method of 
reply was to retain the hated official in office. He ex- 
plained: "Every office induces greed, and if the holder 
enjoy it only for a short time, without knowing at what 
moment he may have to surrender it, he will naturally 
plunder his subjects to the utmost while he can. If on 
the other hand he hold it for a lengthened term, he will 
grow weary of oppression and become moderate, as soon 
as he has extorted for himself what he thinks enough. 
In one of my campaigns I came upon a wounded soldier 
Ijung on the road, with swarms of flies in his bleeding 
flesh. A comrade pitying him was about to drive them 
off, thinking him too weak to do it himself. But the 
wounded man begged him rather to let them alone. *For,' 
said he, *if you drive these flies away you will do me harm 


instead of good. These are already full, and do not bite 
me as they did. But if you frighten them off, hungry 
ones will come in their stead, and suck the last drop of 
blood from me.' " So the procurator was retained to 
plunder Palestine for nine years longer, and then was 
succeeded by that arch extortioner, Pontius Pilate. 

A picture of the economic unsettlement of the times 
is found in the parables of Jesus. A man starts to build 
a house, and has to leave it unfinished for lack of funds. 
Commerce is at a standstill, and people with treasure 
hoard it in hidden places. Law is in abeyance, and a 
judge makes a personal matter of his administration of 
justice, taking up the case of a widow merely to further 
his own convenience. The principle of absenteeism has 
been accepted in government, with the personal owner- 
ship of the governed by the governor; so that we hear of 
"a certain nobleman" who "went into a far country 
to receive for himself a kingdom." The constitution- 
alized thievery at the top of society is eating like a per- 
vasive gangrene down through the social mass, begetting 
a similar state at the bottom; so that we find along the 
Jericho- Jerusalem road organized bands of brigands. 
Men bury their money in the ground for safe-keeping; 
where treasure is laid up, there "thieves break through 
and steal." One of the pictures is of a strong man armed 
and keeping guard over his goods from the despoiler. 
We see a speculator withholding his corn from the people, 
building his barn bigger; whereupon the people rise up 
against him, resorting to mob law in their desperation: 
"Thou fool, this night they are requiring thy soul of thee." 
Because of the exhaustion of resources due to the fiscal 


oppression, people everywhere are being forced into debt, 
and we see debtors kneeling before their creditors for 
mercy; failing to find which, they are thrown into prison. 
Farmers, stripped of their best fields, are forced to plant 
seed in hard and stony ground unfit for agriculture. 
So extreme is the destitution, that an empty cupboard 
is referred to not as an exceptional case but as the chronic 
and well-understood state: "Friend, lend me three 
loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, 
and I have nothing to set before him.'* Brutality is the 
treatment meted out to slaves; from behind the doors of 
the slave dungeons we hear the victims being beaten with 
many stripes — wailing and gnashing of teeth. Amidst 
the desperate poverty, the loss of a coin is serious, so 
that the house is swept; and its recovery is celebrated by 
the neighbours. Justice is bought and sold — in Seneca's 
language, "judgments knocked down to the highest 
bidder" — so that a co-legatee is helpless when his 
brother, the stronger, refuses to divide the inheritance 
with him. Whilst, underneath all else, an accompani- 
ment in the bass of deep, pedal notes, we hear the 
rumblings of a storm that is gathering; and there are 
vivid flashes of fire through the night. 

The expectation of a speedy change in the social order 
is so fundamental in the mind of Jesus, that he takes it 
for granted. He nowhere argues it. He assumes it as 
something universally accepted by his hearers. He 
makes it the base-work of all his teaching. The economic 
impoverishment and the humiliations to the spirit of man, 
have reached a pass where they can no longer be suffered. 
For, under the now prevailing conditions, the only life 


that can be lived is a life that is not worth living. The 
people, frenzied by the slavery which they behold 
creeping toward them, throng in revolt to the stand- 
ards of Judas of Galilee. But Rome is erudite in the 
science of crushing; and the only result is a few more 
desperadoes added to the brigandage that is already the 
terror of GaUlee. Manifestly something is going to be 
done. The people which sit in darkness are looking for 
light. Their question is. From which quarter of the 
heaven will it break, and what will the Hght be.^^ 

At this juncture the news comes that a leader has ap- 
peared, by the name of John, and that over in the Jordan 
Valley he is raising up a following. The people flock 
thitherward. No small commotion is being aroused. 
Jesus hears the news. He is joyously stirred. He makes 
a journey over to John's headquarters. It appears that 
he is prepared to enlist under John's leadership and be- 
come his Heutenant. He even takes the first step to 
such an enlistment — receives the rite which John en- 
forces on candidates. If the Baptist has the word that 
can lighten the darkness which is setthng upon the land, 
Jesus is prepared to throw himself into the movement 
— will follow him to the end. 

But it appears after a while that the Baptist has not 
this word. John has no constructive programme. His 
r6le is that of a denouncer. He beholds the out-of-joint- 
ness of the times, but can see no clear way of reducing 
the dislocation. He is like a physician who is strong in 
diagnosis but weak in therapeutics. This absence of an 
aflSrmative note is felt by his auditors. After being 
stirred by his powerful demmciations, they ask, "But 


what shall we do?" He makes no clear reply. John 
is like a rapt sermon that leaves out the application. 
His preaching ends up in the air. So long as John is 
denunciatory, he soars and is a very buzzard for majesty 
of flight. But when, in response to the repeated sum- 
mons of the listeners, he comes down to earth and 
attempts a practical programme, he is like that same buz- 
zard when it is on the ground — wobbly to the point of 
the comic. John 's plan for social reconstruction is an 
extension of alms giving, and for the soldiery to cease 
extorting on their own private account, content with 
their wages. Confronted with "The System" in the per- 
son of Herod, John limits his indictment to the incest 
that is in the Herodian palace, as though the times would 
be all right again if Herod would but become decent in 
his marital relations. 

But we must not bear too hard on John. With all of 
his shortcomings he had a virtue which in large measure 
atoned for them — a clear recognition of those short- 
comings. He was not a constructive thinker — and he 
said so. He described himself as merely a Voice; 

An infant, crying in the night. 
An infant crying for the light; 
And with no language but a cry. 

John 's work was to call aloud against the crooked paths 
in the prevailing landscape of society, and then usher in 
another, greater than he, who would make those paths 
straight: his to exclaim against the precipitous inequal- 
ities of human fortune, and then trust to his successor 
to fill those valleys and to bring low those dizzy mountain 


peaks of a too great prosperity. John could do little more 
with the poison tree than to prune away a few of its 
branches. But there would come one after him who 
would lay the axe to the root. 

John seems to have suggested to Jesus that he himself 
was to be this greater and mightier one. Charming is the 
picture these cousins present, each effacing himself for 
the other, each in honour preferring the other. Their 
followers tried to bring about a rivalry between them. 
In vain. In fact, the bearing of the two cousins toward 
each other is so harmonious throughout, that it suggests 
some covenant to a common Cause, wherewith they had 
covenanted themselves back in boyhood; so that now 
each cared not for himself but only that the Cause be 
advanced. There is even a hint in the nativity narra- 
tives that their two mothers had vowed them each to the 
other before birth, and now they did not depart 

So long as John was succeeding, Jesus refused to put his 
own personality forward. It was only after John was 
imprisoned that he stepped forth into a public and au- 
thoritative position. There is a whisper in the records 
that it was his indignation at this imprisonment of his 
cousin which brought Jesus to the deciding point — the 
straw that broke at last the back of his too patient en- 
durance. For it revealed to him the uselessness any longer 
of palliative measures: "From that time Jesus began to 
preach and to say. Get a new mind; for the Restoration 
is at hand.** In the career of The Carpenter from that 
moment we see force of character aroused by the sense 
of a great wrong. 


Jesus had a plan. There is a decisiveness in his 
proclamations and a sure-footedness in his goings, which 
bespeak a goal clearly in view. What was this goal.^ 
and how did he propose practically to attain it.^ 

As has already been hinted, Jesus was conversant with 
the world politics of his time. For this Workingman of 
Nazareth had an intellect of the jBrst magnitude — a 
point in him that has not received the attention it deserves. 
To turn the stream of history from its wonted chan- 
nel and give it a new direction argues a great heart, but it 
argues even more a great mind. Ecstatics, such as 
Francis of Assissi, create a stir; but the world, with a 
passing attention to the rhapsodizer, continues to jog 
along pretty much the same. When however an epoch 
is made, so much so that the world redates its calendar, 
we are certified that a thinker has appeared. Jesus had 
one of the master intellects of all time. In its sweep, 
its incisiveness, its granitic texture and firmness, and in 
its masculine power to impregnate other minds, it yields 
to the intellect of no Aristotle or Bacon or Newton. 
Above every other trait in him, the Carpenter of Galilee 
was a thinker. To know one's own time is the surest 
mark of mentality. This mark was his — he applied 
his master intellect to the world politics of his day. 



In fact the march of world events occupies so funda- 
mental a position in his teaching, that his mission can 
almost be summed up in the phrase he himself used 
— to awaken the people to "the signs of the times.'* 
Jesus was a publicist. He had in highest degree the 
journalist temperament. No other person of that day, 
not the emperor himself on his uplifted throne by the 
Tiber, read the times so discerningly nor traced the trend 
of events with so statesmanly an eye. 

For such a reading of the world, Palestine was a more 
favourable location than Italy. It was more at the 
centre. In the clash between Europe and Asia which 
was impending, this hill country of Judah occupied a 
midmost position. The great eras in human history have 
lain at the collision point of ideas. The Norman Con- 
quest is an instance; also the Renaissance, when the 
Crusaders had brought Europe and Asia into contact. 
Ever the conflict between the East and the West has 
been the most prolific source of humanity's awakenment, 
and therefore of humanity's advancement. Such a con- 
flict was about to take place now, with Palestine the meet- 
ing point of the racial currents. This was not the first 
time she had played the part of a buffer state. In earlier 
days the history of the world had centred around the 
clash between Egypt and Mesopotamia. To the Old 
Testament prophets have been ascribed supernatural 
powers of insight, because they discerned so clearly the 
outlines of this clash. But their geographical position 
was in large part the secret. Palestine, set square between 
these rival powers, and yet aloof from them because of 
its mountain fastness — ^hedged in by sea on one side and 


desert on the other — was a natural observatory. This 
had been more of a help to those Old Testament jour- 
nalists than they themselves probably realized. 

Now Egypt was replaced by Rome. And instead of 
the eastern empires of Nineveh and Babylon, were the 
hosts of Persia — Parthian warriors — waiting to dispute 
Rome's claim; with India and the Far East dim in the 
mists of vast distances, but now bearing into view since 
the campaigns of Alexander. Mark Antony had sensed 
this awakening of the East, due to the aggressions of the 
invasive Roman, and had displayed a real quality of 
statesmanship in his move to build up from Alexandria 
as a centre an empire of the East which should rival that 
of Rome. The importance at this time of the East, as 
compared with the raw and undeveloped West, appears 
in the persistent rumours, toward the end of his 
career, that Julius Caesar was planning to move the 
capital of the empire to Ilion, Alexandria, or some eastern 
centre — rumours which eventually found their fulfilment 
when the capital was transferred to Constantinople. 
Had Antony been master of himself, as was Augustus, 
to give to preparations for war the priceless hours which 
he spent in dalliance with Cleopatra, the outcome of 
his fight with Italy might have been different, and a new 
direction imparted to history. 

The clash was to be one between materialism and 
idealism. From Palestine, to the westward stretched a 
civilization of roofs; to the eastward, a civilization of 
tents. The Asiatic mind, bred to the eternal mystery 
of the desert and evaluating exterior things as but 
instrumental and tributary to man, has developed soul 


as its chief product. All of the religions have had their 
origin in Asia. But to the Western world — and Rome 
was its representative — things were more important 
than men. Steadily these two opposite civiHzations 
had expanded; now they touched. The combat was on. 
Jesus foresaw the clash. At that moment Palestine 
was the focus of the world: and Galilee was the focus of 
Palestine. Removed from the race exclusiveness of the 
Jerusalem district, Galilee was cosmopolitan. Friendly 
intercourse with travellers from many nations had given 
to the minds of its people a wide horizon. Almost any 
child in Galilee knew the flow of the world tides, better 
than a sage in the cloistered Jerusalemite set. From 
the hill above Nazareth the beholder looked down upon 
the waters of the Mediterranean, where passed the ships 
of every nation — corn fleets from Egypt, slavers, the 
galleys of Antony and Cleopatra, ships of war with their 
three banks of oars, merchant vessels from a hundred 
ports. To the eastward from the same hilltop, one sees 
the Jordan and the district beyond, where Asia's sandy 
reaches set in. From those same heights Jesus saw to 
the north the ribbon-like road where ladened camels 
plodded between Damascus and the coast, trafficking 
in the spices of Ceylon, the silks of China. And to 
the south he looked down upon the legions at march along 
the Roman road from Acre to the Jordan, by the Esdrae- 
lon route. Dense indeed would have been the mind 
that knew not what the presence of those legions meant, 
and their grim garrisons defacing the landscape. From 
the Nazareth heights he could almost make out Csesarea 
#n the coast, where Herod with lavish expenditure had 


built a bulkhead into the Mediterranean, to serve as 
Rome's maritime base for a grim invasion of Asia. 
(The Parthians, secure in their Persian fastnesses, had 
thrice defeated the Romans — humiliations which, 
unavenged, would tremble Italy's world empire. For 
the Parthians would be a nucleus around which the 
awakening East would rally. And Rome would lose 
her richest hunting ground.) 

Two civilizations were colliding. As Rome repre- 
sented the western element, the religion of Israel rep- 
resented the eastern — the supremacy of Things, as 
against the supremacy of Man. Whenever a nation of 
imperialistic bent comes into contact with some people 
of a strongly national sentiment, an explosive situation 
is created. Switzerland, Ireland, the Transvaal, are in 
proof. Now two continents were in head-on collision. 
Two opposing lines of historic development, the one 
culminating in Israel, the other culminating in Rome, 
were meeting face to face. The issue was joined. There 
was no longer room in the world for both. Conflict was 
irrepressible. The greatest imperialistic force the world 
has seen was square up against the most intense na- 
tionality ever known. It was the dramatic moment in 

The record states that the ferment produced in Jesus 
by the swirl of these tides, so pregnant of fateful issues, 
took him for a time well nigh out of himself. The 
intensity of this particular experience suggests throughout 
his entire youth a wild warfare of conflicting elements 
within him, before he had become a coherent being; 
and now it had reached its crest. So energetic was the 


agitation that it drove him into a wilderness retreat. 
Apparently this was some mountain height from around 
which fell wide horizons. For the narrative states — 
with pardonable exaggeration — that from this observ- 
atory he beheld "all the kingdoms of the earth." So 
wrapped was he in contemplation of the vision, the des- 
tinies which were unrolling before him, that he well- 
nigh forgot food, the necessary care of the body. 
Through forty intense days he revolves the thing. 
Slowly out of the mist and welter the clear-cut issue 
disengages itself. Finally it takes shape. He sees 
whitherward the currents are setting — beneath all the 
tangle of events, elemental forces are ranging themselves 
for conflict. When he comes out of that mountain 
sojourn at last, he has the world crisis well in hand, 
and what he will do to meet that crisis. 

Rome is forging a world-wide empire of property, 
with man crushed by its weight of oppression. He will 
forge a world-wide empire of man, in league against that 
oppressor. He will show that Rome's idea of world 
confederation is a sword that cuts both ways. To Rome's 
solidarity of vested rights, he will oppose the solidarity 
of human rights. Rome is preaching the folly of national 
jealousies when Property is at stake. He will preach 
the folly of national jealousies when Man is at stake. 

Jesus planned to make the Jews the nucleus of a 
federation of the world's proletariat against the world's 
oppressor. He saw that the moment was opportune. 
The people were astir. Probably there has been no 
moment in history when democracy was more ram- 
pant, than at this instant when Rome was seeking 


to fasten upon the world her empire of infinite repres- 
sion — "fields white unto the harvest,'* as he ex- 
pressed it. The barometer plainly indicated that Pales- 
tine would be the storm centre. Jesus planned to set 
his cause so fully at this explosive core, that when 
the crash came it would hurl his word to Farthest East 
and Farthest West, and range the common people in 
a united front against the united aggressor. At the 
focus of the world he would set democracy as the light 
of the world. As he phrased it in his opening words, 
wherein he unfolded to his nation the strategic position 
it occupied at the vortex of the world currents: "A 
city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light 
a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; 
and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." 

However it was not her geographical position alone 
that put Israel in the forefront of this fight against Rome 
the Devourer. From time immemorial Judah had stood 
for the rights of the common people. Renan terms 
Israel's career: "The most exalted democratic movement 
of which humanity has preserved the remembrance. The 
history of Israel is of all histories that in which the 
popular spirit has most constantly ruled." The Hebrews 
dated their commencement as a nation from a working- 
class revolt. King Rameses II, the greatest builder 
in all the Egyptian dynasty, had impressed into slavery 
the Semitic settlers on the Isthmus of Suez, compel- 
ling them to drag the great stones for his buildings, 
and to put Nile mud and chopped straw together to form 
bricks. But the bedouin lust of liberty was in their 


veins. Their haughty nomad spirit ill-brooked the 
thought of serfdom. And under one Moses as their 
leader, who had previously established relations with 
kin bedouin of the Arabah desert, they effected their 
escape. Henceforth they worshipped the Lord of free- 
dom, the Unseen One who with strong arm and out- 
stretched hand had delivered them from the house of 
bondage. "I am the Lord thy God which brought thee 
up out of the land of Egypt," was now all their religion 
and all their theology. To this day the passover is one 
of the great festivals of their faith — the yearly com- 
memoration of their independence from slavery in the 
brickyards of Goshen. 

Throughout Israel's life thereafter, the rights of the 
poor, the toilers, were deemed the special object of 
divine protection. The artificer is highly mentioned in 
the Old Testament. The God of Israel is a workingman's 
God — he is ever on the side of the poor against those 
who would despoil them. So conspicuously was this in 
their thought that it wove itself into the very structure 
of their language: in Hebrew the word for "poor" means 
also "the gentle," "the humble," "the pious." And the 
word for "rich " means also "the violent," "the wicked," 
"the impious." The Psalms vibrate with this passion 
for the proletariat: "The wicked in his pride doth 
persecute the poor; let them be taken in the devices that 
they have imagined. For the wicked boasteth of his 
heart's desire and blesseth the covetous, whom the liOrd 
abhorreth." "For the oppression of the poor, for the 
sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I 
will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him." 


"Hide me under the shadow of thy wings from the 
wicked that oppress me; they are enclosed in their own 
fat." "All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto 
thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too 
strong for him, yea the poor and the needy from him 
that spoileth him." This explains why the Psalms are 
so poignantly intimate even to this day — the secret 
of the perennial freshness of this Old Testament book 
of songs. The Psalms may not improperly be termed 
the Hymn Book of Democracy. 

This consecration of the poor had its inevitable effect 
in their economic and political exaltation. In Israel 
alone among the nations of antiquity there was no peas- 
ant order. Naught could wash out of her blood the 
notion of equality. In Rome the distinctive badge of 
the patrician as opposed to the plebeian was that only 
the former could trace his ancestry. But in Israel no 
member of the nation was so poor as not to have a gene- 
alogy. The lowly were "God's poor." There were 
slave raids all around her, but among the Hebrews man- 
stealing was a capital offence. In their abhorrence of 
the Fugitive Slave Law, the Abolitionists could not 
have gone beyond the old Israelites: "Thou shalt not 
deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from 
his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even 
among you in that place which he shall choose in one 
of thy gates, where it liketh him best; thou shalt not 
oppress him." Laws were passed to prevent excessive 
inequalities of fortune. Debt was not permitted to 
enslave permanently. Rigid limitations were fixed to 
the private ownership of wealth — there were to be 


redistributions of the land at stated intervals: "The 
land shall not be sold forever, for the land is mine.'* 
Each day the hireling must receive his wage before the 
setting of the sun. "He that taketh away the bread 
gotten by sweat, is like to him that killeth his neighbour." 
Says Laveleye, member of the Royal Academy of Belgium : 
"In all epochs and in every land, after primitive equality 
had disai)peared, aspirations for social equality are to 
be met with. But it was from Judea that there arose 
the most persistent protests against inequality and the 
most ardent aspirations after justice that have ever 
raised humanity out of the actual into the ideal. We 
feel the effect still. It is thence has come that leaven 
of revolution which still moves the world. Wherever 
the people have taken up the Bible and allowed their 
minds to be thoroughly imbued with its teaching, they 
have come forth strong with the spirit of reform." 

In Israel the common people were regarded as citizens 
of God — Vox populi, vox Dei. The people were regarded 
as the source of government, so that the leaders in Israel 
ruled only by the force of public opinion. When a king 
was appointed, it was because the people had asked for 
him. Nor was the step taken without some qualms: 
"We have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a 
king." The revolt of the Ten Tribes not long after 
makes clear that the people had no notion, when estab- 
lishing a monarchy, of surrendering their own prerogative 
as the origin and fovmt of civil authority. Even when 
oppression supplanted democracy, we find a proletariat, 
alert and articulate — the "multitude," that restless, 
ceaseless, ominous background to scripture history. 


When Herod wished to put John Baptist to death he 
hesitated for that he "feared the multitude because they 
counted him a prophet." And we find the rulers con- 
tracting with Judas to betray Jesus unto them, "in the 
absence of the multitude." 

The prophets were the spokesmen of this wide-awake 
proletariat. They came out of the people and spoke 
for the people. Hosea, Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah, were 
in Israel what the tribunes were in Rome. Nehemiah 
wished to check the avarice of the nobles and princes; 
and this is how he did it: "I set a great assembly 
against them." Israel's political system may almost be 
said to have been Government by Mass-meetings. The 
prophets agitated against the rapid and dangerous con- 
centration of wealth in Jerusalem. Through seven cen- 
turies they stormed and pleaded for a return to the old 
patriarchal simplicity and solidarity. 

Wherefore, the incurable hopefulness of the Jewish 
religion. Other nations located their Golden Age in 
the past; they built their poetry out of retrospection — 
a backward-glancing muse. But the Jews have always 
located their Golden Age ahead of them — an invincible 
zest of the future. Which fact finds here its explana- 
tion. The sovereignty of the people is a goal of such 
dizzy altitude that no attainment of it can be perfectly 
satisfying. It is a winged ideal. It keeps ever in front. 

These facts are of high importance in recovering a 
portrait of The Carpenter. For Jesus was a Jew. The 
record opens by tracing his genealogy on both sides 
back through an unending line of Jewish ancestry. He 


was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. Circumcised the eighth 
day according to the faith of his fathers, he was loyal 
to that faith throughout. He "accomplished all things 
that were according to the law of the Lord." When he 
rebelled against some contemporary rite, it was in order 
to return to an older and more spiritual law of which 
the contemporary rite was a caricature. Even in his 
seemingly most radical innovation — his widening of the 
Jewish mental horizon to take in the disinherited among 
the other nations — he was but harking back to Isaiah- 
of-the-Exile. He based his propaganda on Israel's 
national traditions: "Deliverance is of the Jews." 
When commissioning his disciples to a world-wide 
mission, he expressly enjoined them to retain, for a start 
at least, their Jewish continuity: "Go not into the way 
of the Gentiles, but go rather to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel." His antagonism against the Jerusalem- 
ite set was that of pious Jews everywhere; for that 
clique of clever priests and nobles in the capital had 
traitorously compounded with Rome. Jesus made so much 
of his Jewish inheritance that, when he came to 
organize the propaganda of his new social order, he poured 
it into the mould of the Jewish state with its twelvefold 
division. And he must have stressed this detail with some 
emphasis, because the first thing the disciples did after his 
taking away, was to fill up the number twelve by electing 
a man to the place left vacant by the death of Judas. 

The Jew in every age has been tenacious of liberty. 
In America to this day no political boss has been able 
to corral the Jewish vote. Unlike other races, their 
voting strength has no solidarity — it refuses to be 


counted beforehand. Incubating there through forty 
heroic centuries, independency is in their blood. A 
Jew is congenitally unfit for a servile lot — as the 
capitalist class of old discovered. In the slave 
markets at Rome a Jew always brought a low 
price — to keep him in slavery was a harassing task 
to his owners; load him with irons, his spirit held 
out, unsurrendered. Even the haughty Tacitus was 
moved to compliment the Jews in that they refused 
to flatter emperors or to erect statues to earthly 
marauders. "We be Abraham's seed, and were 
never slaves to any man." In carrying them 
away into Babylon, their captors soon discovered 
that they had "caught a Turk"; so that it was not 
long before plans were being discussed for sending 
them back to their homes: "Thus, saith Cyrus, 
Eang of Persia: Who is there among you of all 
His people.^ his god be with him, and let him go." 
It was found that the Jews were "too savage to be 
slaves." When Titus destroyed Jerusalem, he sent 
many of his captives in'o the mines of Egypt — he 
durst not bring too many of them into Italy. And this 
class of slaves was particularly sought out for immola- 
tion in Rome's bloody spectacles, the conqueror being 
exalted "for making the general annihilation of the foe 
a public amusement." 

Travellers in Palestine wonder how so much could 
have happened in so small a space. The explana- 
tion is found. In her stand for democracy, it 
was Israel against the world. The heroism of that 
struggle begat a nobility of spirit and a tenacity 


of faith which together spell personality: and per- 
sonality spells achievement. It was Israel's passion 
for political and economic freedom that intensi- 
fied the other elements in her faith. The war 
she declared on Rome just a few years from this 
time was, as historians truly state, little else than 
national suicide. Nevertheless it was a something 
of nobleness in her to meet a resounding fate, and 
not to end sordidly as did the kingdom of Perga- 
mum to the north of her, by a signature affixed 
to a protocol. Israel stood for the value of man, 
against the overweening arrogance of property. It 
was not an accident that the most aggressive demo- 
crat in history was born in Galilee, of a race the most 
tenaciously democratical in human annals. 

This is why Israel attached so much of spiritual 
meaning to her existence as a nation. Great em- 
pires, founded on the exploitation of the masses, 
were around her on every side. Habakkuk wrote 
of the Babylonians: "Their horses also are swifter 
than the leopards and are more fierce than the even- 
ing wolves. And their horsemen shall spread 
themselves. And they shall gather slaves as the 
sand." "Slaves as the sand!" —in Old Testa- 
ment writings the economic is constantly to the 
fore. Its heaven is this world in excelsis. No matter 
to what altitudes his prayers and his songs winged them- 
selves, the feet of the old Israelite remained on solid 
earth. And with cause. Economic degradation has never 
yet produced high spirituality. Therefore her God was an 
interested partner with the people in their fight for 


freedom. Israel believed that Jehovah could not be 
adequately worshipped by a nation of slaves: 

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down: 

Yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. 

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 

For there they that carried us away captive required of U8 a 8ong, 

And they that wasted us required of us mirth, 

Saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 

How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land ? 

We can understand the imprecation with which this 
poet-democrat closes his lament; "O daughter of 
Babylon, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou 
hast served us, and dasheth thy little ones against the 
stones." The Assyrian Assurburnipal, with charming 
naivete, supplies the secret. He describes the fall of a 
city: "I took away their children like troops of lambs"; 
and at the fall of Sour: "I buried some alive, and 
others were crucified and impaled. I caused many to 
be flayed before my own eyes, and I covered the walls 
with their skins." At Tiela: "I carried oix the pris- 
oners, the booty, oxen, sheep. I burned great quan- 
tities of spoil. With my own hands I captured many 
prisoners alive. I cut off the hands and feet of some, 
the nose and ears of others, and tore their eyes out." 

When this foreign domination overtook Israel, there- 
fore, she refused to be comforted. To her bedouin blood 
with its aboriginal thirst for liberty had now been added 
the still mightier sanctions of religion, so that her con- 
tinuance in a servile state was regarded as disrespect 
to Jehovah. Her plannings by day and her prayers in 
the night were for Israel's deliverance. Thus arose 


the messianic ideal — a Deliverer who would redeem 
the people from this new slavery, as Moses had delivered 
them in the days of old. As tyranny succeeded tyranny, 
this hope became their religion. The new state which 
would be formed when the Deliverer had accomplished his 
work was looked forward to as the " Kingdom of God." 
It would be characterized by a reign of universal justice. 
Man's inhumanity to man would be done away. The 
disinherited classes would be restored to their own. In 
this reign of economic peace and f ruitf ulness — an 
Edenized earth — even the desert would share; it 
would rejoice and blossom as the rose. 

At the time of Jesus this ancestral hope, because of 
the despotism which was riveting itself upon the people, 
was flaming as never before. He took this hope, and 
utilized it for his purpose. No one more than The 
Carpenter has appreciated the importance of historic 
continuity. The more radical his plan, the more he 
coveted for it the sanction of antiquity. He knew 
that any cause that is to project itself into the future 
needs the momentum of the past. He emphasized at 
the start, therefore, that he was no innovator, but a real 
conservator: "Think not that I am come to destroy 
the law or the prophets; I am come to fulfil." And this 
age-old doctrine of "The Kingdom" was the tool whereby 
he would destroy the Empire of Exploitation and recon- 
struct society into free and joyous industry. However, 
he made alterations in this tool as it came to his hand. 
And these alterations are important. New wine needed 
new wine-skins. 

In the first place, he gave to this term "Kingdom" 


an interior reach and direction. Until then it had pos- 
sessed only a political application. This he retained; 
but he built for it also a causeway into the heart. The 
modern reader can perhaps grasp the "Kingdom of 
Heaven" as Jesus used it — so far as a single phrase can 
embody it — by substituting for it in every case another 
term, "The kingdom of self-respect": "Lord, wilt 
thou at this time restore again the self-respect to Israel? " 
Self-respect has in it, beneath all its gentleness and 
forbearance, a granitic quality. It is the skeleton frame- 
work necessary to every upstanding type of man, and 
without which his softer and flesh-like virtues would 
slop down into wobbling jelly. To The Carpenter's 
way of thinking, spirituality is a virile thing, one that 
makes greatly for an affirmative life. It is the foe of 
slavishness and passivity. He claimed for every man 
the means to lead a dignified life. Said Homer: "Zeus 
takes away one half the manhood of a man when 
slavery overtakes him." No self-control without self- 
reverence. I know of no other paraphrase that will 
convey to a modern mind the virile quality that was 
in the teaching of Jesus and at the same time its stress 
on the interior life. The Within was for that age 
a blazingly new idea. It accounts for the emphasis 
on psychology and the mental universe, wherever 
Christianity has gone; and the insistence on personal 

Though small in itself, self-respect has resident within 
it a principle of growth; it is the root of all other virtues. 
"The kingdom of self-respect is like to a grain of mustard 
seed which a man took and sowed in his field. Which 


indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it 
is the greatest among the herbs and become th a tree." 
"He began to preach and to say, The kingdom of self- 
respect is at hand." Self-respect is the cardinal virtue, 
both for a man and for a people, so that to obtain it no 
sacrifice is too costly: It is, "the pearl of great price," so 
that the merchantman "went and sold all that he had, 
and bought it." The kingdom "cometh not by observa- 
tion" — that is, by chariots of fire and rainbow rafters 
across the sky: "neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo 
there! for behold, the kingdom of heaven is within you." 
By interpreting Israel's ancient hope thus, that hope was 
phrased in scopeful fashion, conserving all that was worth 
while in its ancient form, and elastic enough to receive 
increments of meaning through all time to come; herein it 
was like a householder, who brought forth out of his 
treasure "things both new and old." The paraphrase 
will convey to a modern reader something of the virility 
and practical civic import of the stress he laid on a 
reformation inwardly begun, which stress was in that 
day a wondrous novelty. 

Beginning with the individual, the doctrine of self- 
respect has an outreach to society as a whole. "The 
kingdom of self-respect is like leaven, which a woman 
took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole 
was leavened." That meaty word "judgment," which 
frames itself so fondly on the lips of Jesus, has a similar 
connotation. Self-respect is the personal quality, of 
which judgment is the social expression. An individual 
fibred by self-respect will give unto another the full 
measure of what is due, as well as demand from that 


other the full measure. And that is "judgment." "Ye 
pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have 
omitted the weightier matters, judgment, mercy, and 
faith." "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the king- 
dom of self-respect." 

In this proclamation of self-respect lay the dynamite 
of The Carpenter's teaching. Given a world in which 
half of the people — of the same colour as their masters 
— were kept in slavery by intimidation; let loose among 
them this one word " self-respect — social earthquakes set 
in forthwith. It was this word which gave that torpedo 
effect to the quietest talk by The Carpenter, and made on 
his lips the most innocent metaphor into forked lightning. 

Beside interiorizing it, there was a second alteration 
which Jesus made in the "Kingdom" idea as it came to 
his hand — he internationalized it. Until then this 
instrument of social reconstruction had been narrowly 
Jewish — that the new state of society was to be for Israel 
alone. True, there had been a beginning of a broader 
idea in the Isaiah-of-the-Exile, Israel there being por- 
trayed as the Servant to go forth to the gentiles. But 
this newer doctrine was but literary; it had found no 
lodgement in life and practice. The Carpenter took up 
from Isaiah this scopeful rendering and gave it reality. 
His training in " Galilee-of-the-gentiles" had loosened 
from about his neck the collar of Judaistic self-suflSciency. 
As he looked forth from Palestine's observation tower 
upon the nations of the world he beheld a similar scene 
in each. The working class in them all were in one and 
the same slavery, their common master being a closely 


cemented capitalistic group with headquarters on the 
Tiber. He perceived that Israel's hope of deliverance 
lay in making common cause with the proletariat of 
these other nations. It had been her vice in the past 
that she had cultivated so haughty an aloofness — a 
national pride utterly disproportionate to her power. 
And dearly had she repaid it. She had thought only of 
her own freedom. She forgot that despotism is an 
encroaching invasive force, so that democracy out of self- 
preservation must display an equal energy of encroach- 
ment and invasiveness. Had Israel been statesmanly 
she would have perceived that slaves in Babylon meant, 
in the sure course of the centuries, enslavement for 
Israel also; and she would not have sought freedom for 
herself, oblivious to the human beings groaning in bond- 
age in the nations round about. Rather she would 
have put herself at the head of u. universal emancipation, 
and thus, in that world-wide freedom, have preserved 
her own. On Abraham Lincoln's reelection to the pres- 
idency, the International Workingmen's Association 
sent to him from London a message of congratulation: 
" From the commencement of the titanic American strife 
the workingmen of Europe felt instinctively that the Star- 
Spangled Banner carried the destiny of their class. For 
the men of labour, with their hopes of the future, even 
their past conquests were at stake in that tremendous 
conflict on the other side of the Atlantic." "Who gave 
Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers?" her own 
self-centredness, when she failed to perceive that her 
cause was one with the toiler class of all nations. 
Jesus saw that this mistake must not be repeated. 


Israel, confronting the Roman devourer single-handed, 
would be most unequally matched : *' What king, going to 
make war against another king, sitteth not down first and 
consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet 
him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? " 
It were suicidal. Israel need not take up the gage alone. 
Wherever Rome's empire was extending, a ground-swell 
of discontent was setting in, a tidal heave of the industrial 
mass. For this was back in the formation days of that 
empire, before it had saddled itself firmly on the backs 
of the people, and while hope was yet alive. The hour 
was striking. A hundred peoples were ready: "Say 
not ye, There are yet four months and then cometh 
harvest. Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes and 
look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." 
In fact, the danger was lest the restiveness of the peoples 
had reached a point where it could no longer be restrained 
and would burst forth untimely, before a unified plan 
had been formed and before a religious principle had been 
grafted onto the revolt in order to sustain it against 
shocks and to guide it into constructive channels. Jesus 
clearly perceived this danger: "I am come to send fire 
on the earth; and what will I if it be already kindled?" 
That this fear was not groundless is attested by the 
premature insurrections which blazed forth in this cen- 
tury of revolution — that of the Germans under Ar- 
minius; the Britons under Boadicea; the Rhine peoples 
under Civilis; and the pathetic, the folly -fraught, and 
yet noble revolt of the Jews — that revolt which is 
sepulchred to this day at the Arch of Titus in Rome. 
The oppressors were united, but the peoples were not 


united. Revolting singly, the empire met each of them 
with its confederated strength, and was easily the master. 

This then was The Carpenter's plan: First, he would 
teach his fellow countrymen that national self-respect 
comes only when this trait has been incarnated in 
each individual. This lesson learned by Israel — for 
how otherwise could the blind lead the blind; would 
they not both fall into the ditch .^ — he would thereupon 
make her his servant, his elect to carry the tidings. 
"From Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of God 
from Jerusalem." He would put his spirit upon her, 
and she should go forth and proclaim self-respect to the 
gentiles. The Jews being an exceedingly prolific race 
were already emigrating to the nations round about in 
a wide dispersion — a diaspora for purposes of trade. 
He would take advantage of this fact, and transform it 
into a diaspora of democracy. These emissaries would 
do a revolutionary work without seeming to do it — 
naught but to drop innocent-looking seed into the soil, 
and pass on. But that seed of self-respect taketh root 
of itself, and springeth forth, first the blade, then the 
ear, then the full corn in the ear; and the crop which 
would mature therefrom would be of exceeding interest 
to the banded exploiters on the Tiber. " This gospel of 
the kingdom shall be preached unto all nations — then 
shall the end come." 

No fact is more certain than that this Carpenter from 
Nazareth had a world consciousness. His Vas the one 
intellect of that day which thought habitually in world 
terms: Expressions such as, "the field is the world"; 


"wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the 
whole world"; fall unforced from his lips. " Go ye into all 
the world," was his mandate; "and as ye go, preach, say- 
ing. The kingdom of self-respect is at hand." An intel- 
lect framed thus on a world's diameter proves the quality 
of mind which he was endowed withal. But events were 
also helping him to this statesmanly programme. A com- 
mon oppressor was making possible, for the first time 
m histor5% a union of the world in a common cause 
against that oppressor. Jesus had an eye for strategy. 
He knew that there is nothing like a common struggle 
to beget the idea of common interest. The harder the 
wrestle against the devourer, the closelier would the 
wrestlers themselves be welded. The Carpenter sum- 
moned his followers to a day of wrath. Imperative 
for character is the ingredient of a healthy indignation. 
Attraction and repulsion are the twin passions which 
make human nature's warp and woof — yes, a cosmic 
law, for push and pull make the world go round. 

The proletariat of a hundred nations — leaderless, 
polyglot, multitudinous — had fainted and were scattered 
abroad: "When he saw the multitudes, he was moved 
with compassion on them, as sheep having no shepherd. 
Then saith he unto his disciples. The harvest truly is 
plenteous, but the labourers are few." Into this living 
debris Jesus planned to inject the cohesion of a common 
indignation, and a common loyalty to himself as the 
fomenter and guide of that indignation. A federation 
of the world against the federated oppressors of the 
world — this was the plan of The Carpenter. 


It was a large undertaking, this to which Jesus had 
set his hand. And he needed for it large supplies. 
To call to self-respect a world of slaves, to renew within 
them a taste for freedom, and to base that freedom now on 
foundations that would last, was an elemental task and 
needed an implement equally elemental. The Carpenter, 
setting out to move a world, needed a lever as lar^e as 
the world. This lever he found in religion. 

The history of the planet attests that there is nothing 
which so awakens self-respect in a slave and plants within 
him a distaste for slavish things as the doctrine that God 
and he are relatives. Intimacy with the divine makes 
always and everywhere for democracy. Let the priest- 
built wall of partition between a peasant and his Maker 
be broken down, the peasant ceases straightway to be a 
peasant. For in that moment his spirit achieves emanci- 
pation: and once he is a freeman in spirit, he will very 
soon be a freeman in his social estate also. The man 
who knows God otherwise than by hearsay will go on 
to the next step and declare it unseemly for such a person 
to be in a servile relation to anybody. 

Jesus had here an illustrious precedent. Moses, in 
seeking to loose the yoke of Egypt from the Goshen brick- 



makers, had first to counteract the numbing effect upon 
them of four hundred years of slavery. Mere arguments 
of economic well-being would have been wasted on those 
dehumanized toilers. A materialized self-interest, a cool 
calculating of more and less, could have awakened no lust 
of freedom in a people sunk in a four-centuried sleep of 
slavishness. Moses took another route. It was because 
he was a religious genius that he was so successful as an 
awakener of a sodden and dead proletariat. Vigils in 
the wilderness had unlocked for him the gateway into 
man's interior life, where alone are the hidings of power; 
so that he came back to Israel's slave horde, armed with 
a mandate from the Highest. He began his work among 
them with this proclamation: "The Lord said, I have 
surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, 
and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; 
for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver 
them." Honoured by a visit from such a Guest, the 
lowest-browed slave in his sty perceived his home to be 
a sty, and sought straightway a better habitation. The 
exodus was the result. The doctrine of Israel as God's 
"chosen people" had its origin thus in a revolutionary 
motive. It took a horde of slaves and made them over 
into a democratism uncompromisable, and which has 
endured from that day to this. Speaks Renan: "The 
code of Jahve was one of the earliest and boldest attempts 
ever made in defence of the weak and helpless." It is 
significant* in this connection that the followers of Jesus 
saw a parallel between his work and that of Moses. Said 
Stephen of him: "This is that Moses which said unto 
the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord raise 


up unto you of your brethren, like unto me. " Jesus 
himself hammered home the parallel: "Had ye believed 
Moses ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. " 

Judas of Gamala knew also the leverage which religion 
gives to any movement for popular awakenment. When 
he made the sedition which was eventually — A.D. 70 — 
to set Palestine ablaze, he did so by proclaiming to the 
common people their nearness to God. Josephus de- 
scribes him and his followers as imbued "with an invin- 
cible love of liberty, maintaining that God is their only 
Governor and Lord;" so that we are not surprised to find 
them fanatical democrats, "despising every form of 
death nor allowing the fear of it to make them call any 
man Lord. " 

Jesus utilized to the full this inspirational fount of 
insurgency. He developed it beyond what any other 
awakener of the masses had done. So much so, in 
fact, that many reading his words have confused the 
end for the means, and have regarded religion as the 
cardinal interest of The Carpenter, to which all else was 
contributory — a view supported neither by proof -texts 
nor by the general type of man portrayed in the first three 
gospels. (The Fourth Gospel is admitted to-day to be 
a later document, and to have been — as itself confesses — 
prompted by a controversial motive. It is unauthori- 
tative as a contemporary record, except where it confirms 
the type of personality portrayed in the three earlier 

The modern notion of worship for the sake of worship 
was alien to The Carpenter's type of mind. That was 
the essence of the Pharisee position, with which Jesus 


was in bitter controversy throughout. Unless a life 
culminates in action, it was to him like a house builded 
on sands, a shifty and inconstant thing. The fact that 
his younger brother James stresses the same truth is 
important as suggesting the intensely practical atmos- 
phere which characterized working-class Galilee and its 
Nazareth home. Religion for its own sake is the result of 
bookishness; we shall come across it, but in the academic 
rabbi circles of Jerusalem. The Carpenter, trained by a 
lifetime of practical pursuits and with a thousand gener- 
ations of Old Testament materiality in his blood, held 
tenaciously to this world and its tasks. He built up no 
mass of visions remote from the earth. Spirituality to 
him was the solid materialism of life, shot through with 
purpose and so made incandescent and luminous. He 
regarded religion as the inspiration of the world's work, 
and not as an end in itself. 

We are prepared, therefore, to see that The Carpenter's 
theological equipment was of the slenderest. The fact 
of God, a fact woven into the warp and woof of his peo- 
ple's thought, he accepted without any attempt at def- 
inition. The nearest he ever came to a description of 
God was in his picture of heaven in the parable of Dives 
and Lazarus. And there the father of heaven is repre- 
sented as Abraham the patriarch. Jesus's prime concern 
was to arouse the common people to a sense of dignity 
and rulership. Therefore the passages of infinite tender- 
ness wherewith he pictured the love of heaven toward 
them: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and 
one of them shall not fall on the ground without your 
father. But the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 


Fear ye not, therefore; ye are of more value than many 
sparrows!'* Such language addressed to the populace of 
the ancient world was in the highest degree inflammatory. 
It aroused self-respect: and self-respect was fatal to the 
industrial order that Rome was trying to impose. Rome 
was incontinently drumming into the proletariat that 
they were naught but "articulate agricultural imple- 
ments." Hence her rage at Jesus and his followers, 
as soon as she found them out. For here was a teacher 
going about the country and impressing the common 
people with a sense of their infinite worth, lifting them 
from the level of oxen, "implements," clear up to a kin- 
ship with the divine. Small wonder that Rome's historian, 
Tacitus, applied to the movement the term "dangerous." 
Said he: "The originator of the name, a person called 
Christus, had been executed by Pontius Pilate in the 
reign of Tiberius, and the dangerous superstition, though 
put down for the moment, again broke out not only iu 
Judea, the original home of the pest, but even in Rome. " 
This thought, that the primary purpose of the Car- 
penter of Nazareth was economic and only secondarily 
religious, will come so upheavingly to many, that it is 
needful to buttress it. And here we summon to the stand 
no less expert a witness than Arthur McGiffert, pro- 
fessor in Union Theological Seminary, New York. He 
avers: "It is often said that Jesus came to make men 
more religious. In one sense one might almost say 
that he came to make them less religious; for he laboured 
to free them from what Was ordinarily called religion in 
his day — a fear of God which made necessary religious 
exercises of one kind or another in order to appease his 


wrath, and so distracted men from the real duties of 
life; or a delight in God which took the form of spiritual 
worship and contemplation, and made all else seem barren 
and empty. Jesus was a foe of religion in so far as it 
interfered with active service, just as much as he was a 
foe of selfishness and greed." And again he presses it 
home: "Social salvation is the watchword of Christianity." 
Jesus was the most modern man of his time. 

If the proclamation of the common man's immediate 
relation to God powerfully tends to political rights and 
economic justice, the Pharisees were "safe" teachers 
for Rome to have loose in Palestine. For the Pharisee 
party was based on the essential degradation and bes- 
tiality of the masses. Their name meant, "That which 
draws itself apart. " In the street they pulled aside their 
skirts so as not to touch "the accursed multitude that 
knoweth not the law." They straitly regulated their 
intercourse with those "dregs of society." Marriages 
between the two classes were looked upon by them as 
misalliances, and compared to throwing one's daughter 
to the lion, or coupling one's son with cattle. They 
refused to eat at the table of the common people, or to 
journey in their company. There was hardly a crime of 
which the Pharisees did not regard these " ignorant ones " 
as guilty, describing them as dishonest in their transac- 
tions, indelicate in their families, without honour or 
self-restraint. These lower-class folk were not to be 
permitted to bear witness, or to have the guardianship of 
orphans. Beginning with the shepherds who, because 
kept by their occupations away from public worship, were 


"unlearned " and were regarded as in the lowermost circle 
of the social inferno, the scorn of the Pharisees extended to 
all wage earners. For were they not sinners, in that they 
lacked culture? Piety was identified with learning. We 
read in the sayings of their rabbis: "The ignorant is im- 
pious; only the learned shall have part in the resurrec- 
tion. " "No brutish man is sin-fearing, nor is one of the 
people of the land pious." "A common person may be 
killed on the Sabbath of Sabbaths, or torn like a fish. '* 
And in another of their books the Pharisaic prejudice 
against the labouring class again breaks out: "How can 
he get wisdom that holdeth the plough.? So every 
carpenter and work master that laboureth day and night 
— they shall not sit high in the congregation, and they 
shall not be found where parables are spoken." The 
"rabble" were outcasts from the fellowship of the 
learned, and therefore were "altogether born in sin." 

It must be admitted that the common people repaid 
this Pharisaic class hatred in its own coin — so much 
so that in the time of Jesus the relations between them 
had become tense and embittered. Rabbi Eleazer de- 
clared his belief that the illiterate would murder all of 
the sages, if they could get along without them. It is 
diflBcult for a reader, at two millenniums remove, to con- 
ceive the tickle wherewith the parable of the "Pharisee 
and the Publican" tickled the ears of the working-class 
audience to which it was delivered. In the emphatic 
ring of the speaker's words at the end we can almost 
detect the applause amidst which that climax was shouted : 
"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified 
rather than the other." The parable of the Prodigal 


Son had the same social message, the reinstatement of 
the disinherited classes. Akiba as one of the proletariat 
expressed his hatred of the scornful scholar set character- 
istically: "If I only had a lettered man I would bite him 
like an ass. " 

Jerusalem was the centre of this upper-class snobbish- 
ness, and Galilee's working-class population was in large 
part its butt. The Jerusalem aristocracy was fertile in 
coining epithets against them: "Those Galilean pigs,*' 
and, "Galilean blockhead." The very accent of Galilee 
was an offence in the haughty society circles of the capital. 
Jesus, not being designed by his parents for a rabbi, had 
not studied at college. Hence the rulers called him 
" Samaritan," which was a nickname of theirs for one 
who had never been to college — "How hath this man 
learning though he hath not studied?" The ruling class 
had so confidently affirmed religion to be only for the 
classes of wealth and leisure and learning that the lower 
orders, the "babes and little ones" so tenderly spoken of 
by Jesus, had w^U nigh come to accept this appraisement 
and to regard themselves as hopelessly outlawed from 
the commonwealth of heaven. When therefore Jesus 
aijpeared to the Galileans and announced to this "rabble" 
that heaven was on their side rather than on the side of 
the Jerusalem set — Emmanuel, " God-on-our-side " — 
it was a gospel indeed, a piece of "good news" which 
dilated the heart of every man that heard it. 

In this Galilee region The Carpenter first along con- 
fined his propaganda. He prepared there for his later 
campaign when he moved upon Jerusalem. For, as we 
have seen, his plan made it needful for him eventually 


to get possession of the capital city. Jerusalem was the 
oflficial centre of the Jewish race. Though the Jews of 
the Dispersion were scattered far, the sacredness of the 
Temple kept intact the nexus which bound them to their 
race and to Jerusalem. The magnetism which the sacred 
city exercised upon the hearts of Jews everywhere is seen 
in that roster of countries represented in the city at the 
time of the pentecostal feast; "And how hear we every 
man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthi- 
ans and Medes and Elamites and the dwellers in Mes- 
opotamia, and in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and 
Asia, Phrygia and Pamphilia, in Egypt and in the parts 
of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and 
proselytes, Cretes and Arabians?" No other city of the 
ancient world could so vie with Rome for the honour of be- 
ing a world-capital. If Rome was the financial centre, Je- 
rusalem was the religious centre of the then known world. 
It was the immediately strategic point, therefore, in 
the campaign of The Carpenter. Once in possession 
there, he would have behind his propaganda the momen- 
tum of two thousand years of Jewish history. We have 
seen that he was psychologist enough to appraise at its 
full the importance of continuity with the past. The 
propagandist who obtains history for his ally has half 
won the battle. Once in control of the official machinery 
of Judaism, therefore, he would know how to restore that 
machinery to its aforetime uses of democracy — he 
would utilize the diaspora for heralding his proclamation 
of self-respect throughout the inhabited earth. Accord- 
ingly, we shall read later on that "he set his face stead- 
fastly toward Jerusalem." However, he knew some- 


thing of the opposition he would encounter in securing 
control of that capital seat. First along, therefore, he 
laboured in Galilee and raised up a following there, in 
order that when he confronted the capital at last it would 
be with a prestige and a backing which would enforce 
for his claims a hearing among the intrenched ruling class. 

We read that his teaching tours at this time were ac- 
companied by miracles. As to nature miracles, those 
namely in which the suspension of some natural law is 
involved, the records as we have them are too fragmen- 
tary, the evidence too unscientific, to permit the forma- 
tion of an intelligent opinion. On the general subject, 
however, it can be stated that the democracy's interest 
is to exalt to the highest degree her lord and founder, the 
Carpenter of Nazareth. Long after the privileged class 
has broken with him and has transferred its worship to 
another, the democracy will be found championing the 
divineness of the Nazarene. For it will share in any 
increment of honour and might that are bestowed upon 
its founder. Wherefore if in the infinite possibilities of 
the future there should develop a natural science in which 
suspension of nature forces at the behest of transcendent 
personal force is established, the democracy will hail the 
discovery as adding new laurels to the brow of her Lord. 

As to the works of healing, the difl&culties in the way 
of their credence are less, and the evidence more full. 
That an authoritative and radiant personality such as 
that of The Carpenter should overflow its healthful ener- 
gies on to impoverished natures round about, is quite 
consonant with the laws which we are discovering to 
exist in the mystic realms of the cortex and the medulla. 


However, these works were but incidents in his career. 
They formed not the main current of the stream, but were 
eddies along the side. They bulked not large either in 
his own thought or in that of his contemporaries. Amidst 
the abundant depression and hysteria of that day, any 
spirit of marked sanity and joy moving to and fro amongst 
the people would leave a trail of health behind. The 
people were accustomed to that method of healing. The 
naive indignation wherewith the ruler of the synagogue 
lashes the people for coming on the Sabbath day to be 
healed by Jesus, his matter-of-factness in commanding 
them to put those affairs off for week-days, is eloquent 
of the healing art in that age: "There are six days 
in which men ought to work; in them, therefore, 
come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day." 
"If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do 
your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your 

Jesus viewed with unmistakable distaste the drain upon 
his time and strength which these works cost him. Not 
that he was untouched by the sickness round about him. 
Rather, it was because he was deeply touched; and like all 
true saviours of society, he aimed the axe at the root 
thereof. The health of the nation was too profoundly 
disordered. Under the conditions amidst which the toiling 
masses lived — exhausting labour, scant food, uncertainty 
of the morrow — sickness was inevitable. He might heal 
three or four to-day. But he knew that he was sending 
them back into conditions where a relapse was but a 
matter of time. "A bad tree cannot bring forth good 
fruit." His programme, therefore, was one of social 

. . o . ,a(» .,. , the; call of the carpenter 

sanitation. A cunning physician, he practised in the 
school of hygiene. 

Jesus himself seems to have put a low appraisement on 
these healing works, relying upon other evidence to 
attest the authenticity of his mission and the truth of his 
message. "The Pharisees came forth, seeking of him a 
sign from heaven. And he sighed deeply in his spirit 
and saith. Why doth this generation seek after a sign?" 
Asked for the seal and confirmation of his message, he 
pointed to the signs of the times. He said that if they 
were at all weather-wise to the political and economic 
winds that were setting in, they would perceive that the 
call wherewith he was calling them was true and authen- 
tic. That it was a spirit from heaven which was upon 
him was proven, he said, by the democracy of his mis- 
sion; for he was preaching good news to the labouring 
class, he was healing their heart-break, he was preaching 
deliverance to the slaves, the recovering of sight to the 
blinded, to set at liberty a proletariat trodden and bruised, 
and to proclaim the kingdom of self-respect, that accept- 
able day of the Lord. So far from his works of cure being 
the chief aim of his career, those works themselves were 
in large part the results of the joy which his social message 
aroused in his hearers. It was because he brought good 
news to the toiling masses that they bestowed upon him 
their confidence in utter degree — confidence, that pre- 
requisite in all work of therapeutics. It was in working- 
class Galilee that his healing gifts were particularly dis- 
played. Outside of that district, and even in Galilee 
in the places where his good news was indifferently wel- 
comed, we are told that "he performed no mighty works. " 


The joy that attended the "good-news" preaching of 
The Carpenter can with difficulty be imagined by mod- 
erns, accustomed to view religion as a scourge, a cult for 
the dying, a system of world renunciation. Jesus was 
not afraid of the good things of this world. His message 
had for its purpose the recovery of their earth heritage 
on the part of the disinherited classes. That term, "the 
lost," as it appears on his lips, repays study. It has 
not the idea of moral failure which the term has come 
to connote to-day. It has reference rather to social out- 
lawry. The Prodigal Son, the "lost sheep," the "lost 
coin," are the outcasts of the social family. Society has 
disinherited them, but God has not disinherited them. 

The Carpenter's proclamation of this truth con- 
stituted the "good news" which made his presence 
so acceptable to these outlawed classes and his words so 
full of grace and winsomeness. Some "Thou shalt nots" 
went with this proclamation; but this part of his message 
was subordinated. The Son of Mary was a greatly affirma- 
tive personality. His note throughout was the Eternal 
Yea. He left the Nay in large part to assert itself. He 
found the working people busied in paltry cares. They 
were seeking their economic salvation by piteous make- 
shifts — a lengthening of the work day, a cheaper grade 
of clothing, a poorer house to live in, more grasp- 
ingness toward each other, a curtailment of the fooc* 
supply, sordid scrimpings and prunings. He said to 
these: "Be not thus anxious. Your labour, were it unex- 
ploited, is creating wealth enough comfortably to support 
you and yours. The good fat earth, its udders distended 
with milk, has a teat for each of its offspring. Ask, and 


it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, 
and it shall be opened unto you. In the new order, the 
kingdom of man, the empire of self-respect, of which I 
am the herald, there will be sustenance for all. Throw 
yourself into this restoration movement, and you will 
have abundance. You of the working class are the fav- 
ourites of heaven. It desires to give good gifts unto you. 
Your deliverance cometh not by working harder and more 
worriedly, but by securing a new order of society. There- 
fore take not this anxious thought, saying, *What shall 
we eat or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we 
be clothed.* Seek ye first the kingdom of self-respect, 
and all these things shall be added unto you." This 
is why the common people heard him hungrily. But the 
Jerusalemite aristocracy, in league with Rome to safe- 
guard dividends, "took counsel together how they might 
destroy him. " 

Neglect to inquire the auditory to which the Sermon 
on the Mount was addressed has occasioned a mischievous 
and persistent misunderstanding of The Carpenter, 
namely, that he preached non-resistance — a misreading 
of the text that has been of immense perversity. In this 
sermon he was addressing the wage-earner class — "his 
sayings in the audience of the people. '* Ever, the tragedy 
of the toiling masses has been their incapacity to unite. 
Their economic masters, partly because fewer in number, 
but also because they are "in their generation wiser than 
the children of light, " have tended ever toward a pooling 
of their interests. The kingdom of labour, divided against 
itself, is brought to desolation. This is why, through 
all the span of centuries, Things have commanded a 


high price and Man a low price; and why property in- 
terests have been well taken care of but human interests 
have not been taken care of. The Jewish proletarian was 
notoriously a sinner in this matter of incohesion and 
bickerings — the vice that besets intense and inde- 
pendent spirits everywhere. The tendency was never 
more marked than at the time of Jesus — petty quarrel- 
someness, an excessive love of litigation. This rending 
of themselves into wrangling factions — Israel's congenital 
failing — was to come to a head a few years later when 
the Roman legions finally invested Jerusalem. The city 
fell then — and with it the fall of the Jewish nation — 
not so much because of the attack outside, as because of 
the suicidal strifes inside. Titus engraved on his arch 
the sacred vessels of the Temple which he carried away 
to Rome, and their figures are standing to this day, en- 
graved on the mighty stones. He took the credit; but 
there was no signal military skill in the conqueror. The 
Jews fought amongst themselves; they made the task 
of Titus easy. Reported Josephus: "This internal se- 
dition did not cease when the Romans were encamped 
near their city walls. But although they had grown 
wiser by the first onset the Romans made upon them, 
this lasted but a while, for they returned to their former 
madness and separated one from another and fought it 
out. " Jesus foretold where, if disaster came, the secret 
would lay: "Every city or house divided against itself 
shall not stand. " 

The Carpenter sought to foster in the Jewish masses, 
in the best sense of the word, a class solidarity. As 
he looked upon them a scene of infinite wrangle met his 


eye — crimination and recrimination, strifes lingual, strifes 
physical, strifes legal. Therefore, with militant work 
in mind, he enjoined upon them a life of peace amongst 
themselves: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, 
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say 
unto you that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite 
thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 
Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are the peace-makers. " 
It was the counsel of a general who, discovering his soldiers 
fighting amongst themselves, commands upon them an 
attitude of forbearance toward one another — not in order 
to lessen their militancy but precisely in order to increase 
their militancy; for an army that takes the sword against 
itself has no sharpness left in that sword for the 

The Carpenter was summoning the audience to 
whom these words were addressed, to a united, sus- 
tained, uplifted warfare against the banded enemies of 
the human race. Love as he understood the term is a 
strong, a militant trait. No man loves the people with a 
perfect love, unless he hates the despoilers of the people 
with a perfect hate. In an age of oppression there is 
something wrong with the man who has not a fight on his 
hands: "Woe unto you when all men speak well of you. " 
He understood well that there are times when the only 
peace worth having is the peace that has to be fought for. 
That any offspring of Mary could be a weakling spirit, 
counselling to submissiveness and peace at any price, 
is an incredibility — she who, while she was forming his 
members within her, sang with exultant strain: "He 
hath showed strength with his arm, he hath scattered the 


proud in the imagination of their hearts, he hath put down 
the mighty from their seats.'* 

Jesus sought to breed a type of man that would look 
oppression in the face and wring its neck. In him 
the warrior spirit was incarnate: and all the more 
so in that he took not up the sword. A teacher 
revolutionist like Ferrer is more to be feared by the 
federated destroyers of the poor than an army with ban- 
ners; because in him are the seeds of a hundred armies. 
Potent to the pulling down of strongholds is a warrior 
idea, more than whole parks of artillery. History pre- 
sents no life career that was more militantly planned or 
more militantly executed, than that of the Nazareth Car- 
penter. To set out deliberately to proclaim self-respect 
to sixty million slaves, was to embark on an enterprise 
infinitely adventurous. He understood well the hazard 
to himself, and he accepted that hazard. He understood 
with equal discernment the explosiveness of the doctrine 
he was letting loose in society; he accepted that explosive- 
ness, and with the same doggedness of spirit: "I came not 
to bring peace, but a sword. " Sending forth his disciples, 
he "commanded them that they should take nothing for 
their journey, save a staff only" — the staff being a 
protection against assault. 

Akin to this in spirit was that other series of passages 
in this sermon — the "beatitudes." Luke's version of 
these has probably more fidelity to the original, as being 
the rough shorthand report of the speech — Matthew's 
account betrays a later and a polishing hand. Luke 
anyway is the reporter who gives The Carpenter's message 
in its boldest, its most revolutionary form. He was a 


physician, as his description of the woman with the twelve- 
years' issue of blood evidences. He had witnessed that 
tragic thing in the lives of the poor, the exhaustion of 
one's means in time of sickness before a cure is obtained — 
the woman in question "had spent all her living upon 
physicians." Therefore, since he had seen this under- 
world upon which Rome's gorgeous splendour rested for 
its economic foundation, Luke was prepared to welcome 
an overturning. He had no sympathy with any attempt 
to smooth down the "hard sayings " of Jesus so as to make 
them acceptable to the ruling caste. His desire was to 
"trace the course of all things accurately from the first. " 
Accordingly, Luke's version gives the beatitudes in a 
rough but fiery strength. And we discover that The 
Carpenter's reference to the "poor in spirit" was in order 
that they might get over being poor in spirit; he insisted 
that they were inheritors, in order to rouse them up to 
claim their inheritance. To the hungry he promised 
a state of society in which they would no longer be on 
short rations, nor would the sorrowful then be called upon 
to endure the brutalities which were turning their day 
into night. Those "Blesseds" were words of compli- 
ment and cheer to working people, and were designed 
to awaken their self-respect to a point where they would 
stand up against the invader. The Carpenter believed 
in the dignity of labour. The drones, parasites in the 
human hive, enjoying an unearned prosperity, consumers 
and not producers, endowed idlers living on the stored 
products of the past, he could not away with. The fault 
of the toiling masses was that they did not think of them- 
selves as highly as they ought to think. They were 


subject and satisfied. They were being trampled upon, 
because in deepest truth they were content to be trampled 
upon. Whenever, wonn-like, they turned, it had been 
only in some spasm of destructive fury, void of persistency 
and of a structural programme. Therefore he sought to 
breed in them a sense of dignity, by revealing to them 
their worth: "Ye toiling masses are the upholders of 
the earth; let your light shine before men, that they may 
behold your works. Ye are the salt of the earth; true, 
if ye are insipid, spiritless things, ye are good for naught 
but to be trodden some more under the foot of men. There 
is to be a regeneration, the restitution of all things. 
Blessed therefore are ye that hunger now; for ye shall be 
filled. Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh." 
Those beatitudes constitute a Bill of Rights. The Sermon 
on the Mount ranks high among the inflammatory mani- 
festos of history. 

"Whosoever is angry with his brother without a 
cause" — distinctly Jesus believed in an ennobled mili- 
tancy. And to this his "blessed are the meek" presents 
no exception. "Meek" in its ancient acceptation meant 
"capacity for teamwork." The Terrible Meek are those 
who have subordinated their private selves to some com- 
mon cause and therefore tread unitedly — a composite 
man into whose strength have gone the strengths of 
ten thousand. A terrible army to stand up against is one 
wherein each soldier has been meek to sink his personal 
feelings in the spirit of the whole; it shall inherit the earth. 

Quite otherwise than in this congratulatory strain 
shall we find him speaking when he is outside of Galilee 
amongst Judea's upper-class circles. And even now — in 


Luke — be follows up his "Blesseds" with another series, 
the veh divitibus — his "Woes" to the parasite, the ex- 
ploiter, the well-fed idler. " Woe unto you that are rich ! 
Woe unto you that are full! Woe unto you that laugh 
in your cushioned places of ease ! Woe unto you of whom 
*The System' speaks well!" The "world," as Jesus 
used the term, meant not the physical as distinguished 
from the spiritual. Its reach rather was economic. By 
it he meant the banded exploiters at the top of society, 
who spend wealth they have not created, and therefore 
spend it vaingloriously. Earned wealth is good, but 
unearned wealth is a corrosive in any man's life. And 
this class of privileged ones, receiving revenue un- 
righteously and therefore spending it unrighteously, 
is what Jesus signified by the "world." There was his 
antinomy. "If the world hate you, ye know that it 
hated me before it hated you." "Ye cannot serve 
God and mammon." 

This then was the method Jesus employed in his attempt 
Jbo awaken the proletariat of the ancient world. He 
stirred the people to self-respect, by announcing that 
heaven was on their side — that they, the working 
masses, were its favourites. "The common people 
heard him gladly." 



A MAN is known by the enemies he makes. In this 
respect Jesus was particularly fortunate. We have seen 
him as the friend of the toiling masses, identifying his 
own fortunes with theirs. The shadows in the picture 
serve by their contrast to bring out still more strongly 
this alignment. The opposers of The Carpenter were 
of the class who have opposed and oppressed the toiling 
masses since history began. These opposers centered at 

Even before the Romans came, Jerusalem had been 
growing rich at the expense of her outlying provinces. 
The supplanting of an agricultural mode of life by one 
increasingly commercial had played into the hands of the 
trader class. These gravitated to the capital city, and 
there had coalesced into a close-knit aristocracy of wealth 
and privilege. Isaiah complains of the swallowing up of 
the old yeoman families of the country by rich men. The 
coming of foreign rule was helping this process, because 
the fiscal burdens, which were now doubled on the backs 
of the people, told with special fatality on the lower classes. 
Poll taxes, land taxes, export taxes, property taxes, trade 
taxes. Temple taxes, were reducing the once sturdy agra- 
rian class to mortgage their lands. The rich men in 



Jerusalem had become nobles: that is, they had allied 
themselves with the governmental and ecclesiastical 
machinery, in order to add to their revenues the halo 
of sanctity and power. This official position gave them 
opportunities for acquiring the estates which were com- 
pelled to be mortgaged in order to pay the taxes. A 
moneyed aristocracy had thus grown up in Jerusalem, 
and intrenched itself. This set — members of the Sad- 
ducee party, for the most part — were "satisfied with the 
leaven of Herod. " That is, they were content with any 
form of government which left their revenues intact. 
When the Romans came, therefore, these readily ac- 
quiesced in the presence of the invader. Their political 
principle was "peace and quietness." To preserve the 
status quo was their creed: "The powers that be are or- 
dained of God." As their revenues were derived in large 
part from the country districts, it was to their interest 
that those districts be undisturbed. When therefore 
word came up to them in their Jerusalem palaces that a 
Carpenter was moving to and fro among the Galilean 
villages, stirring up the people, they were touched in their 
pocket nerve. As is ever the case when that particular 
nerve is struck, a quick reaction was obtained. They 
straightway "held a council against him." 

Another source of opposition to Jesus was, as has been 
hinted, the Herodian dynasty. They had formerly been 
in possession of the governmental machinery of Palestine. 
But, because of the incurable restlessness of the people, 
they had been getting grayheaded in maintaining their 
hold. When therefore the Romans came and offered to 
extend their protectorate here also, the Herods accepted 


"The System"; they became a willing member of the 
empire. The compact was that the Herods were to keep 
Palestine in subjection to the Romans, and the Romans 
in turn would bring to the Herods in time of revolt the 
military might of the empire. The bargain had been 
closed by Mark Antony acting for the Romans, and by 
Herod the Great. Until then, under a local despotism, 
there had been some show of constitutional government 
in Palestine — the consciousness that though Herod was 
on the throne, the ultimate source of his authority was 
the people, the whole congregation and assembly of the 
faithful. But with Herod's appointment by Mark 
Antony to be Rome's vassal king, the source of govern- 
mental authority shifted from the people to the Roman 
power. Even the pretence of constitutional forms was 
now abandoned. Herod ruled by force. His soldiers in 
the castle commanded the courts and colonnades of the 
Temple. He erected grim fortresses throughout the land, 
to keep the populace overawed. He forbade public 
meetings. He ramified through Palestine a system of 
spies and informers. Sometimes he himself skulked in 
disguise among the people. He used his soldiery to tor- 
ture suspects. Life was forfeited even for talking together 
in the street. 

Herod's abjection before his overlords on the Tiber 
was complete. Mark Antony, in the lap of Cleopatra 
and needing money for those dalliances, sent to Judea 
a demand for gold. Herod complied, resorting to pro- 
scription in order to raise the revenue demanded. Put- 
ting people to death without ruth, he even searched their 
cofl^ for jewels or money. Thus he raised a large sum 


from a land already impoverished by tribute, and sent 
it to his Roman liege lords. He changed the name of 
Samaria to "Sebaste, " the Greek translation of Augus- 
tus. In building Csesarea at great expense upon the 
sea-coast, he halted not in his cringing slavishness until 
he had erected a temple there, dedicated to the worshi]) 
of "Csesar and Rome." He sent his sons to be educated 
in the imperial palace in Rome. His aping of Roman 
ways went to the extent of erecting an amphitheatre in 
Jerusalem, and the exhibition there every five years of 
gladiatorial combats in honour of Augustus. With char- 
acteristic effrontery he erected over the gate of the Temple 
itself a golden eagle, in token that even the souls of the 
people were now in bondage to the Roman state. At 
which unendurable stigma, the patriot heart rebelled. A 
seething mob gathered, and tore the eagle from its perch. 
In revenge Herod burned forty people alive, and executed 
others. This policy of fawning submission to Rome was 
kept up by him to the end, and by his sons after him. 
The Romanizing of the land went on apace. Antony, on 
his marriage to Cleopatra, gave her as a wedding present 
the valuable plantation of palm trees at Jericho. The 
Lake of Galilee was becoming a fashionable watering- 
place for wealthy Romans. Their villas bordered its 
shores. The fishermen disciples were reduced to peddle 
their fish at the rear gates of these villas, where haughty 
Roman matrons lorded it over the subjugated and once 
independent Galilean natives. The herd of swine along- 
side the Lake, and against which Jesus incited the 
lunatic so that a panic was caused which drove them down 
the steep bank and into the water, were being fattened 


for this colony of foreigners. Roman gourmands were 
partial to smoked pig's head and fricassee of sow's udder. 

The attitude of The Carpenter toward the Herod 
family, this crafty ally of Rome, was one of uniform 
hostility. His clash with the Romans appears thus 
only indirectly, for the Herods were Rome's deputies in 
Palestine, and took care of such small matters as a penni- 
less carpenter travelling through the rural districts and 
contenting himself with a teaching function. Rome 
did not set her ponderous crusher machinery at work 
for details as small as that. She held her legions in 
reserve for the great insurrections, trusting to the na- 
tive oligarchy in each country to take care of minor 
disturbances: "If we let him thus alone all men will 
believe on him, and the Romans shall come and take 
away both our place and nation." The direct collision, 
therefore, was in large part between Jesus and the local 
tyranny. There is not a touch of his life with the Hero- 
dian dynasty which is not one of open antagonism and 
loathing. The contempt with which his "Go tell that 
fox" was bitten out from between his teeth, is heightened 
by the meaning in the original, "jackal," the jackals 
being the natural scavengers of oriental cities. The 
contrast at this point with Paul is illuminating. Paul, 
preaching as he did subjection to the powers that be, was 
on good terms with Rome, and therefore was on good 
terms also with the Herods. Jesus, a stirrer-up instead 
of a quieter-down of the people, was on bad terms with 
Rome, and therefore was uniformly on bad terms with 
the Herods. 

And the Herods repaid his hostility in kind. They 


recognized in him an enemy to "The System," and 
sought to thwart him in every way. It seems that 
they began early: "Then Herod, when he saw that he 
was mocked of the wise men, sent forth and slew all the 
children that were in Bethlehem and in all the coasts 
thereof, from two years old and under, according to the 
time that he had diligently inquired. " In sooth, not very 
observant of the amenities. In fact the awfulness of 
this exhibit of absolutism has led students to question the 
historicity of this "Massacre of the Innocents." But 
such an atrocity on the part of the Herods would have 
been by no means exceptional. And whether true or 
not in this particular case, it is profoundly true as a 
revelator of the irresponsible and degrading rule under 
which the people lay since the coming of Rome's empire, 
and permits us an insight into the methods whereby the 
"peace," the much besung pax Romana, was obtained. 
It is also true in that the incident is an index of the venom 
with which the official and exploiting class of that day 
pursued The Carpenter throughout. 

Besides the Sadducee priest-nobles, and the Herodian 
vassals of Rome, opposition to Jesus came from a third 
source — already hinted — the Pharisees. The Pharisees 
were the church-going people of the day. They were 
sincerely loyal to the ecclesiastical idea, so much so that 
modern church writers tend to take the part of the Phar- 
isee and to regret the severity of Jesus toward this party. 
For were not the Pharisees zealous for public worship, 
zealous for the sabbath, zealous for moral standards in 
society? And were they not consistent in this zeal, also? 
for they followed up their precept with practice. They 


gave a tenth of their income to the church, were faith- 
ful in the observances of fasts and all churchly require- 
ments, and were so keen for personal purity that they were 
for stoning offenders against it. Why then should Jesus 
have been so persistently at cross purposes with this class? 

The answer is, because the Pharisees were political 
quietists and maintainers of caste. They sought a piety 
detached from the civic and economic issues of the day. 
Religion to them consisted in an artificial liturgy for the 
sabbath and in artificial rules of conduct for the other 
six days. Religion, in The Carpenter's sense — the con- 
secration of secular life — was beyond their ken. So 
complete was their break with common affairs that they 
welcomed the coming of foreign rule because it took 
from their shoulders responsibility for such "secular" 
pursuits as the administration of government and per- 
mitted them to develop still further their aloofness from 
what Jesus styled the "weightier matters," namely, the 
daily affairs of life: so that when Herod, together with 
the Roman general Sosius, besieged Jerusalem, the 
leaders of the Pharisees, Sameas and Polion, had advised 
the people to open the city gates. The Pharisees had 
become willing supporters of the foreign rule. 

The Carpenter's controversy with them, therefore, was 
that of a pious patriot opposed to pious churchmen. The 
gulf between them was largely that which exists to-day be- 
tween the social worker and the church worker. The 
former seeks to enlist the interests of men in the better- 
ment of the world, while the church, proclaiming the 
evil and vanity of earthly things, inculcates an austere 
detachment from the world. And as to-day, so then, 


each regarded the other as a foe to real reHgion. His- 
tory at last is proving that The Carpenter was right; 
that spirituality is like to the giant Antaeus which, by 
being held aloft from the earth lost his strength, but 
which gained new vitality every time his feet touched the 
ground. The Pharisees aimed at building up a church. 
Jesus aimed at building up society. 

The parallel between then and now becomes 
the more striking when it is remembered that 
The Carpenter, as opposed to the Pharisee, was 
one of the "dregs" of society. He was adverse to 
every squint of caste, even when it was the result 
of a difference in moral standards and was prompted 
by moral motives. The spirit of social exclusiveness 
engendered by the church spirit in all ages — and un- 
avoidable in that Pharisaic "come-ye-apart-and-be-ye- 
separate" spirit — undoubtedly produces a certain re- 
finement in the inhabiters of its exclusive circle. But 
those nicer traits are bought at the cost of a broad de- 
mocracy of spirit and an elemental ruggedness, which 
cost is a distinct offset to the gain and must be computed 
in footing up the balance. The democrat of Nazareth 
was so ultra in his democracy that he could not away with 
caste of any kind. He had no time for moral snobs, any 
more than for social snobs. The fellowship to which he 
invited took in the outcasts. He likened it to a wedding 
supper: "So those servants went out into the highways, 
and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad 
and good; and the wedding was furnished with guests." 
It is a field in which the tares and the wheat grow up 
together. It is a fish net "that was cast into the sea 


and gathered of every kind." The moraUty he 
preached was not a mountain-peak elevation of the few, 
obtained by a valley depression of the many; rather, he 
aimed at the gradual elevation of the entire social land- 
scape. A refinement obtained by quarantining to a safe 
distance all the badness that is in the world, lacks vitality 
and will not carry far in the age of democracy which is 
coming. The democracy cares for efficiency quite as 
much as for goodness. In fact, the only goodness it 
recognizes is one that prepares a man for robust contact 
with his fellows. 

The Carpenter was what would be known to-day as a 
"good mixer." Though he jealously guarded hours of 
retirement, wherein he nurtured his own soul, he felt at 
home with people of the world even to the point of con- 
viviality. The Pharisees were scandalized at him. They 
were sincerely disturbed at his free and easy companion- 
ships with the "dregs" of society — among whom were 
drunkards and harlots — as tending to break down the 
safeguards of morality: "This man receiveth sinners and 
eateth with them." On the sabbath question, also, 
Jesus was shamelessly unconventional. The theologi- 
cally-minded Jews of Jerusalem had long looked askance 
at the whole set of Galileans, breezy and mentally fresh 
from the bracing air of their hills. And here now was 
one of these low-caste ones, more unconventional even 
than his fellows. Jesus came into the Pharisees* close-shut 
and fetid atmosphere like a gust of wind. He pro- 
claimed liberty to those who were captive in the hard 
and narrow conventions of society. His aim was to break 
the chains and let the human spirit free. 


This was at the bottom of his attitude toward property. 
Property rights require peace and order and carefulness; 
human rights require genius and freedom. Jesus looked 
upon any large accumulation of goods as impedimenta. 
It carried with it spiritual disadvantages, because it 
shackled the man, making him cautious and conventional. 
Property makes for immobility. Property is a natural 
born coward, and opposes a Chinese rigidity to every 
suggestion of change. Here and there a propertied in- 
dividual gets over being timid and becomes a free man; 
but this is an acquired trait. Natively the pocket- 
book has a weak heart — gets palpitation easily. Re- 
gard for the pocket-book makes for mediocrity, for a 
"safe," that is, a conventional career, timorous of change. 
Jesus was a foe to anaemia in all of its forms. He 
called people to live on the plus side of life rather than 
on the minus side. He even held that it is better to go 
too far in the plus direction rather than not far enough. 
The elder brother in the parable has one fault, he was 
incurably commonplace — uninteresting respectability. 
This is why he suffers in contrast with the 
adventurous younger brother. The curse of a 
property-ridden civilization is its unendurable dul- 
ness. Under the timidity which the cares of wealth en- 
force, spontaneity is crushed out, originality is choked; 
genius dies, smothered beneath the "goods of this world. " 
Jesus could not sufficiently stress his contempt of the man 
who has gained the whole world but has lost spirit. He 
paid a visit to the Phoenician coast. He saw there a 
richly material civilization. Nevertheless he refused to 
be impressed by the dye works, the glass works, and the 


great ship-building yards of Tyre and Sidon; for he could 
discover in that busy mammon no idealism, no high 
thinking, no meanings. Their busy heaping up of materi- 
alities, therefore, was not progress in a forward direction. 
It was progress in a backward direction; for man was 
being cluttered up, hidden under a mountain of rubbish. 
The crowded slums of Tyre were not more squalid than 
the glut of goods of her master class. 

There is a joy breathing forth in The Carpenter which 
is unmistakable. His words are full of wedding bells 
— an unabashed joyousness. There was in him a spright- 
liness, a vivacity, which won him widest welcome. He 
was the gladly greeted guest at the festivities of the 
people. They "received him joyfully." The people 
saw in this man a contributor to their joys rather than a 
restrainer of the merriment. His parables peal with the 
laughter of the social feast and the dance of some glad 
surprise. To be sure, the rumble of distant thunder is 
heard in those parables, and there are black clouds 
gathering on the horizon. But those portents are of 
evil omen only for the oppressor class, and bring no 
bodings of ill to workers. 

This Carpenter was a glad attendant at weddings. 
Jewish weddings lasted a week. They were commonly 
accompanied with scenes which would be considered by 
some to-day highly indecorous. But Jesus at these 
occasions was quite at home. It bristles from every 
page of the record, his fine, unashamed earthliness, 
a good, wholesome carnality. His heart within him 
laughed pleasantly at the weddings with their almost 
bacchic revelries, and at the dionysian joy3 of the honey- 


moon. As to-day, so then there were those who confused 
mournfulness with religion. These chided him for the 
happy-heartedness of himself and his fellows. He 
accepted the taunt — and went them one better; said 
that he was a bridegroom, and his fellows were the 
licensed "children of the bride chamber." The "good" 
people were disturbed at the verve, the dashing at- 
titude of this Workingman toward the old moralities. 
Out of a sincere conscience they felt that he was on the 
side of Satan — yes, that he was in cahoots with the 
prince of the devils. 

So serene is his belief — his confidence in the native 
goodness of man and the native f ruitf ulness of the earth — 
that there is in him a pervasive note of humour. Humour 
is the mark of a mind at ease. It looks down upon the 
contradictions of life from a higher level, beholding Plato's 
"whole tragedy and comedy of life" from an overcomer's 
standpoint. The Carpenter had disciplined a native 
gift of raillery to a high pitch of eflficiency. Says M^'ltcn: 
"The vein of laughing hath ofttimes a strong and smewy 
force in teaching and confuting." Jesus had it, "strong 
and sinewy." In narrating the scene with the "Woman 
Taken in Adultery," a modern biographer suggests that 
Jesus stooped down and wrote upon the ground to avert 
his eyes, in order not to stain his maidenly soul with 
a sight of the woman. The feminist note, and of a 
piece with the sentimentalism that has gushed so cop- 
iously about this personage. A man does not cough 
and stutter in the presence of fleshly facts. Far more 
probably the reason why Jesus glued his face to the ground 
was in order to conceal a countenance that was peril- 


ously near to bubbling over. A coterie of "saints" 
had been thinking to bugle abroad their own stainlessness 
by zeal against this woman — a showpiece of the chronic 
hypocrisy which caste engenders when framed on lines 
of Puritanism. Jesus punctures their solemn preten- 
tiousness. The ridiculous plight to which they were 
reduced, and the spectacle as they slouched away one by 
one, was indeed something to awake homeric laughter. 
Much of the charm of Jesus was due to the bursts of 
merriment which his words and expressions evoked. 
Often this humour was of the grim sort, full of sting and 
menace; as when he termed the arrogant magnates of the 
day, "sweet lords." At other times it had a charming 
playfulness, so that children were magnetized to him. He 
had been a boy himself. He knew what play was. The 
games of childhood then were what they are now — to 
ape the doings of the grown-ups. In the market place 
he saw troops of children piping or at mock-wailings : 

A wedding or a festival, 
A mourning or a funeral; 
As if his whole vocation 
Were endless imitation. 

It had a fascination for him. It was because they saw 
in him one of themselves, that children gathered at his 
knee. In a deep sense Jesus never grew up. To the 
disciplined vigours of manhood he joined the wondering 
wisdom and the joyousness of childhood — the wide-open 
hand and heart. A genius is one who is a child at forty. 
Jesus championed the cause of genius against the care- 
laden dulness of a civilization cowed by its possessions. 


The social outcasts, "the lost," saw in this Carpenter 
one of themselves. On one occasion a member of the 
Pharisee party, Simon, probably out of curiosity to see 
this man who was making such a stir, invited Jesus to 
dinner. But in his welcome he withheld from his guest 
the customary courtesies — ablution of the feet and 
anointing of the head. Simon probably supposed that this 
Workingman, being a member of the lower class, had not 
been accustomed to treatment as an equal by those in 
the upper circles, and that he would not notice the matter 
— Jesus and all twelve of his disciples were wage- 
earners who had received only a common school education. 
During the meal a woman of the street enters with her 
hair down. Among the Jews, for a woman to wear her 
hair loose signified that she was a harlot. She notices 
the affront to which Jesus has been subjected. She 
knows too that he is a member of the lower class, along 
with herself. Remembering the indignities to which 
she has been for so long subjected by reason of caste, 
her heart spills in a burst of fellow feeling. She attempts 
herself to perform the courtesy that has been denied him. 
With her hot tears she washes the dust of travel from his 
feet, and wipes them with the hair of her head. The 
Pharisee catches hold of the incident as an argument 
against a man who would set himself up as leader — 
taunts him with associating with these immoral ones. 
Jesus makes no attempt to duck. Without a wince of 
embarrassment he ranges himself on the side of the woman 
and against the caste pride of the Pharisee. 

It was not strange, therefore, that Jesus was held by 
the moral caste to be dangerous to religion and to good 


morals. The Pharisees, founding on their teacher, 
the gentle Hillel, and preaching the doctrine of political 
submissiveness and aloofness from the temptations of 
life, were horror stricken at this breezy workingman 
from Nazareth who was so gustily original and so au- 
daciously defiant of the "tradition of the elders." His 
strong thoughts came into their circle like a draught 
of fresh air into an overheated room; the frantic invalids 
within sought desperately to reshut the door. Add 
to this that the Pharisees, "who were covetous," saw 
in this Carpenter a disturber of the economic system from 
which they drew revenues wherewith to support their 
cultured and pious withdrawment from the activities 
of the world, and we have all the material for an explosive 
controversy such as was not long in coming. 

The Carpenter did not seek the controversy. In 
awakening the proletariat he was doing a resultful work, 
and wished to remain as long as possible unnoticed. He 
knew that once the ruling caste discovered the dynamite 
which his doctrine of The Kingdom was spreading through 
society, they would seek straightway to terminate him. 
Therefore he shunned publicity. When the storm was 
raging which ended in the execution of the Baptist, Jesus 
fled that part of the country. The importance of his 
message padded his footsteps with discretion. The 
atmosphere of the day was heavy with espionage. Hired 
assassins were a part of the machinery of government. 
Informers lurked in the crowds at every street corner. 
From Rome as its nest and centre, a cobweb of spydom 
spread out over the world. A civilization in which one 
half of the people were slaves, could maintain itself only 


by terrorism and treachery. The paid informers were 
experts at their trade. They insinuated themselves into 
every group: so much so that they poisoned all social 
intercourse; a man could never be sure of his fellow. 
Eavesdropping had become a profession. Not over- 
coloured is the plaint of one: "A soldier in civil dress 
sits by you, and begins to abuse the emperor; his sim- 
plicity allures you to equal frankness. And chains and 
imprisonment follow." Every man feared his shadow. 
A description of the tenseness of the situation was 
given by Jesus in his caution to the disciple group: "I 
send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves." They 
recognized the aptness of the metaphor. Romulus and 
the she-wolf were dear to the Romans — they rejoiced 
to trace their descent from a beast of prey. Far from 
wishing to conceal this legend of their origin, they ex- 
ploited it — put a statue, the "She-wolf Suckling the 
Twins," in the market place. A move not altogether 
devoid of shrewdness. To an empire based on intimi- 
dation it was distinctly an advantage to have this kind 
of a reputation concerning them get abroad. Jesus *s 
hearers knew poignantly what he meant in likening the 
people to sheep ravaged day and night by a pack of wolves. 
It was not cowardice, therefore, but the "wisdom of the 
serpent," to caution his disciples to an inconspicuous 
work for awhile — eschewing the sword and contenting 
themselves with a teaching campaign, silently dropping 
in the soil of the heart that seed of revolution, the King- 
dom of Self -Respect. He took pains to assure them that 
there would be a harvest from this seed-sowing. Some 
of it would be wasted. But others would fall upon deep 


soil, take root, spring up, and bring forth fruit, 
"some thirty fold, some sixty fold, some a hundred fold." 

So great was his caution, so eager was he for an undis- 
turbed work of undermining the despotism of the day 
before being dug out and dragged to the surface, that 
he was betrayed into using an expression which, though 
a gem of repartee at the time, has been seized upon by 
those who would misconstrue his teaching, as a handle 
whereby to pervert his mission: "Render unto Caesar 
the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things 
which be God's. " These words were spoken to a group 
of informers. We are distinctly certified that the 
enemies of Jesus had "sent forth spies, which should 
feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of 
his words, that so they might deliver him unto the powder 
and authority of the governor." It seems on the face 
of it a bit unfair to catch up a sentence thrown off under 
such circumstances, and base on it the colossal claim that 
Jesus was a preacher of political quietism, particularly 
as the sentence is prefaced by the warning, "but he 
perceived their craftiness, and said unto them." If 
there is Scripture warrant for answering an ass according 
to his assininity, there is surely provision also for an- 
swering a fraud according to his fraudulency. The trap 
was shrewdly baited. If he disallowed the tribute, Rome 
would take affront. If he legitimatized the tribute, his 
followers would take affront. We are told that in the 
company which put the question to Jesus were "the 
Herodians. " From what we have seen of Herod and all 
his works, it had surely been superogatory in The Car- 


penter, even had his ideals run in that direction, to en- 
courage that precious set in further toadyism toward 

In putting the crafty question, they handed him 
a coin. That coin bore the image of the imperator, 
a man who demanded for himself divine honour. 
Its legitimacy, therefore, was repudiated by every 
faithful son of Israel. The Jews carried their democracy 
so far that they refused to countenance the arts 
of portraiture and engraving; no images of human 
conquerors are found painted on their walls or carved 
in marble to adorn Old Testament temples. When 
Pilate sought to carry into Jerusalem the Roman 
standards which bore the image of the Roman im- 
perator, the Jews protested so violently that he had to 
revoke the order. Again, when Caligula issued his 
insane decree that his statue be erected in Jerusalem, 
*'many ten thousands of Jews" met the imperial 
messenger long before he reached the sacred city. 
He asked if they meant war. "No," said they, "but 
we rather die than break our laws; and they threw 
themselves on their faces ready to be slain." The 
Jews had a saying: No nation is conquered until it 
accepts the coinage of the invader. So on the present 
occasion. The answer of Jesus can with entire legiti- 
macy be interpreted as a counsel to render back 
unto the Romans everything that belonged to 
them, and banish them from the land — a proc- 
lamation of non-intercourse, including an embargo 
even on their coinage. Rome and things Roman were 
to him so despicable that when he was brought 


before Pilate's tribunal he denied its right to pass 
judgment upon him one way or the other; he met 
its inquisitionings with silence — tongue-tied with 
contempt. One of the gifts of The Carpenter was 
a swiftness of repartee. And never was this gift 
displayed more felicitously than in the present in- 
stance — dodging one horn of a dilemma without 
impaling himself on the other. He countered the 
craftiness of his adversaries without giving either 
side a handle against him. Of the enigmatical utter- 
ance we read: "This saying was hid from them, 
neither knew they the things which were spoken. " " And 
no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst 
any man from that day forth ask him any more 

That the Son of Mary should have sought to bolster 
up the throne of a Tiberius, a Caligula and a Nero, is an 
interjiretation tenable only by those who know not what 
that throne meant. Therefore let us hear from Froude 
once more. Froude is writing of the Roman state in the 
period immediately preceding this Tiberius era. But 
the latter's parable of "The Flies on the Sick Soldier," 
attests that the formation of the empire had brought no 
noticeable change for the better. Says Froude: "This 
was the state of the Roman dominion: decent indus- 
trious people in the provinces given over to have their 
fortunes stolen from them, their daughters dishonoured, 
and themselves beaten or killed if they complained, by a 
set of wolves calling themselves Roman senators — and 
these scenes not localized to one unhappy district, but 
extending through the entire civilized part of mankind. " 


The poison Rome scattered abroad came back to plague 
her own arterial system: 

On that hard Pagan world, disgust 

And secret loathing fell; 
Deep weariness and sated lust 

Made human life a hell. 

Ovid's "Golden Rome, that holds the treasures of 
the conquered world," was being outwardly swept 
and garnished — the use of the matchless Carrara marble 
giving to her a new architectural garb. But within, 
she was full of extortion and excess. Rome had become 
a rigid plutocracy. "Be it," says Juvenal, "that to 
gold, the fiend, we have no temples erected, no altars 
to the jingling coin; yet mammon is enthroned supreme 
god. " Legacy hunting was become a profession. Ghouls- 
-in-waiting everywhere, flattering their expected tes- 
tators; so that the fore-measuring of dead men's shoes 
ceased to attract comment. Petronius does not over- 
colour his picture of the inheritance grabbers: "In this 
city all men whatsoever belong to one of two sets, the 
anglers and the angled. A man who has heirs is ostra- 
cised, and leads a shamed and lonely life. It is a city 
like a field during a plague — corpses and carrion birds. " 
Love-boys were sold at auction. The righteous man and 
reliable, says Martial, "could find no security in Rome; 
no hope of making his fortune was there for any one who 
was not a pimp, or a toper, an informer, who would 
not seduce his friend's wife, or earn the love-fee of an 
ancient beldame." Horace recognized the damnosa 
hereditas that was upon the city. He cried out: "Our 


fathers were worse than our grandfathers, we are 
worse than our fathers, our children will be worse than 
we"; and in one of his odes he promises an immortal 
fame to any one who will restore to Rome her aforetime 
morality. That The Carpenter should have given a 
clean bill of health to the indecencies for which Rome and 
her Csesars had come to stand, is beyond credence. A lit- 
tle later, and we shall find martyrs of " the Name " dying 
unspeakable deaths by the thousand for their refusal to 
"render unto Caesar" the respect he demanded — a most 
unfortunate misunderstanding on their part, if their Mas- 
ter himseK had meant to make capitulation to Rome. 
Jesus did not spend his lifetime in beating the air. On the 
contrary he speaks of his liberation movement as being di- 
rected against a specific adversary. He likens it to a 
widow who pleaded with a judge, "avenge me of mine 
adversary." The judge, importuned, at last consents: 
"And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day 
and night unto him, though he bear long with them?" 

No. This proof-text on which, as on a single peg, the 
devotees of world-forgetfulness hang their claim that 
The Carpenter was a pietistic, non-worldly rhapsodist, 
becomes on examination a most insecure hold for them. 
On a previous occasion, despite the jocularity of his tone, 
there are signs that he seriously contemplated withholding 
any further tribute money to the Roman invader. After 
a council with his disciples, however, he consented and 
told Peter to go fishing and raise the tax in that way from 
the money the fish would bring; but he explained that in 
consenting to this he was moved by expediency alone: 
"Lest we give offence." So in the present instance. 


The fact that the spies sent out against him hit upon this 
particular question, "Is it lawful to give tribute unto 
Caesar," in order to "take hold of his words, that they 
might deUver him unto the Governor," is eloquent of the 
general idea as to what his attitude was toward Caesars 
and Caesarisms. Wherefore we conclude that as it 
happened to those ancient adversaries of his who "took 
counsel how they might entangle him in his talk, " so 
also with the quietists in every age since; in their efforts 
to wrest The Carpenter from his basic hold in the econ- 
omic, they can not "take hold of his words." 


But precautions were of no avail. In the doctrines 
of this mild-mannered teacher from Galilee the ruling 
caste detected danger; for the toiling masses had a 
strange way of awakening to his words as to the calling 
of trumpets. Instead of the dead and sodden mass of 
humanity which their eyes had been accustomed to behold 
— spiritless, sunk in despair — those oligarchs now beheld 
a coming to life of the lower classes wherever The Car- 
penter visited — a hope beginning to sparkle in their eye, 
an unwonted vibrancy in their tone, a more upstanding 
carriage of their person — the kingdom of self-respect is 
come nigh unto them, and they are pressing into it. This 
was a dangerous state of affairs for the privileged order. 
The local aristocracy had not only their own position and 
revenues to conserve, but a responsibility to the Romans 
in keeping the populace quiet. Therefore, "from that 
day forth they took counsel together." 

With the gathering of opposition, the tone of The 
Carpenter undergoes a change. His words take on a 
fierceness which had not been there before. For he has 
not been permitted to work in Galilee unmolested. The 
Jerusalem oligarchy sent down spies thither, dogged his 
footsteps and nagged him into controversy. Therefore 
he leaves Galilee now, and makes incursions into the 



enemy's Judea district. He throws off his aversion to 
publicity — comes out into the open. He meets the 
challenge of his adversaries. The mellow tones which he 
had used toward working-class Galileans with their 
simple and unaffected outlook upon life are no longer 
heard. Instead there is now hardness, a note of warning, 
a castigation of the privileged set, an accent of sternness 
unrelenting as a law of nature. If his earlier teaching 
had rock of iron underneath it all, there had been deep- 
ness of soil and a greenery, a genial clothing for it. Now, 
however, the granite crops out to the surface, sometimes 
with not enough verdure to veil its hard nakedness. To 
those who have the "Lamb of God" idea of The Carpen- 
ter, a study of his speeches in this later period of his 
career would be highly rewarding. 

To this Judean stage of his ministry belong his 
strictures against the ultra-rich. They were "hard say- 
ings" at the time, and if anything they are "harder" 
still to-day. The Carpenter regarded great individual 
fortunes in a society where there was equally great des- 
titution as ipso facto proof that a love of material values 
predominates in the heart of the possessor over a love of 
human values, and therefore as shutting him out from 
the kingdom of self-respect. Jesus thought of human 
society as constituting one family. Anything that binds 
this family together is good; anything that sunders this 
family is bad. Vast private fortunes are a distinctly 
divisive force in this family group. Therefore he set 
himself against such fortunes; and this not only for the 
sake of the poor, but for the sake of the rich themselves. 
For a man's only happiness can come through society — 


John Ball's teaching, too: "Fellowship is heaven, lack of 
fellowship is hell." Anything that builds a wall of sep- 
aration between a man and his fellows, even though it 
be a wall of gold and silver and precious stones, is dis- 
tinctly bad for him. 

A rich young ruler comes to him. Jesus commands 
that he reduce his "great possessions" to a sum propor- 
tionate to his interior worth, his personal share in the 
creation of that wealth. Probably nine tenths of the 
discontent which mars the harmony of life and defeats 
our social destiny takes its rise in the workings of the law 
of testation and inheritance. People do not begrudge 
wealth to a creator of wealth. It is when the creator dies 
and passes it on to an heir who did no stroke to create it, 
who knows naught of its meaning, and therefore is in- 
capable of a high directorship of it, that the begrudgment 
begins. Most great fortunes are annexed rather than 
created. Remembering this principle, much of the 
"hardness" of the sayings of The Carpenter in this 
matter of rich men disappears. "How hardly shall they 
that are annexers enter into the kingdom of self-respect; 
for it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle 
than for an annexer to enter into the kingdom of self- 
respect." No young man of self-respect will accept a 
place in human society higher than his own personal 
worth achieves for him. The rich young man in question 
was the son of his father — a member of the hereditary 
ruling class. He was reaping where he had not sown, 
and gathering where he had not strawed. Further, much 
of a rich man's revenue comes from the labour of 
women and children — an able-bodied person who is 


content to live upon their backs is deficient in manli- 

That bad social dogma, the sanctity of private for- 
tunes over every other sanctity, came from Roman law 
and was neither an Old Testament idea nor a part of the 
mental furniture of The Carpenter. It may be advisable 
for society to delegate to individuals some rights of private 
ownership, but those rights are revocable at any time. 
The Anglo-Saxons have followed Israel and Jesus at this 
point rather than Rome — witness the right of eminent 
domain, so firmly fixed in English common law. Not 
long since. Lord Coleridge, chief justice of England, de- 
clared "the right of inheritance a purely artificial right"; 
and he added: "A very large coal owner some years ago 
interfered with a high hand in one of the coal strikes. 
He sent to the workmen. He declined to argue, but he 
said, stamping his foot upon the ground, *A11 the coal 
within so many square miles is mine, and if you do not 
instantly come to terms, not a hundred weight of it shall 
be brought to the surface, and it shall remain unworked.' 
I should myself deny that the mineral treasure placed by 
Providence under the soil of a country belongs to a handful 
of surface proprietors, in the sense in which this gentleman 
appeared to think that they did. All laws of property 
must stand upon the foot of the general advantage, for 
a country belongs to its inhabitants; and in what pro- 
portion and by what rules its inhabitants are to own 
its property must be settled by law; and the moment 
a fragment of the people set up rights as inherent in 
them and not founded upon the public good, plain ab- 


surdities follow; for laws of property are like all other 
laws, to be changed when the public good requires it." 
Jesus held that self-respect — to carry out our figure, 
good sportsmanship — required of the rich young man 
that he refuse to accept too long a handicap over his 
fellows in the race of life, and start as near as may be 
from the same mark with them. But he went also a 
step further. He exacted of the young man that he de- 
class himself. "Come, follow me." This was the stag- 
gerer. To stay in his own set and invest his fortune in 
works of charity, would have been comparatively easy. 
Philanthropy has been fashionable in every age. Charity 
takes the insurrectionary edge off of poverty. Therefore 
the philanthropist rich man is a benefactor to his fellow 
magnates, and is made to feel their gratitude; to him all 
doors of fashion swing. But Jesus issued a veto. He 
denied the legitimacy of alms-giving as a plaster for the 
deep-lying sore in the social tissue. Neighbourly help 
man to man was acceptable to him, and he commended it. 
But philanthropy as a substitute for justice — he would 
have none of it. Charity is twice curst — it hardens him 
that gives and softens him that takes. It does more 
harm to the poor than exploitation, because it makes them 
willing to be exploited. It breeds slavishness, which is 
moral suicide. The only thing Jesus would permit a 
swollen fortune to do was to give itself to revolutionary 
propaganda, in order that swollen fortunes might be forever 
after impossible. Patchwork reformers are but hewing 
at a hydra. Confronted with this imperative, the rich 
young ruler made the great refusal. To give up his fash- 
ionable set and join himself to this company of working- 


class Galileans, was a moral heroism to which he was 
unequal. Therefore he was sorrowful; he went away, 
for he had a great social standing. 

Something of the same brand of atonement was evi- 
dently in the mind of Dives when he awoke to the mis- 
take he had made — desirous to send from hell and tell 
his five brothers to use the family fortune in erecting a 
"Dives Home for the Hungry,'* belike with the family 
name and coat of arms over the front portal. Jesus 
would concede no such privilege. He referred those "five 
brethren" to "Moses and the prophets; let them hear 
them " — Moses being the leader of the labour move- 
ment which had given to the slaves in the Goshen brick- 
yards their long-deferred rights; and the prophets being 
those ardent Old Testament tribunes of the people who 
had so hotly contended for the family idea of society 
against the exploiters and graspers at the top. Dante's 
idea that each sin on earth fashions its own proper pun- 
ishment in hell receives confirmation in this parable. 
"The great gulf fixed," which constituted Dives's hell, 
was the gulf which he himself had brought about. For 
the private fortune he amassed had broken up the soli- 
darity of society — had introduced into it a chasm both 
broad and deep. The gulf between him and Lazarus 
in this world exists in the world to come to plague him. 
The thirst which parched Dives's tongue, "being in tor- 
ments," was the thirst for companionship, the healing 
contact once more with his fellows, from whom his for- 
tune had sundered him like a butcher's cleaver. Jesus 
had so exalted a notion of the working class, their absence 
of cant, their rugged facing of the facts, their elemental 


simplicities, their first-hand contact with the reahties of 
life, that he regarded any man who should draw himself 
off from them in a fancied superiority, as immeasurably 
the loser thereby, and as putting himself "in torments." 

At the same time that he castigated the privileged 
orders. The Carpenter was at pains to point out that 
workingmen have obligations. The kingdom of self- 
respect bites both ways. Those at the bottom of the 
social mass could fail to enter into it equally with those at 
the top. "Whatsoever ye would that others should 
do unto you, do ye also unto them;" or as "The 
International" of 1870 phrased it, "no duties without 
rights, no rights without duties." The new order of so- 
ciety which he was announcing would create privileges 
for the toiling masses; but it would also create obligations; 
and he stressed the obligations quite as strongly as the 
privileges. One of these obligations was fidelity to con- 
tract. He pictures a group of labourers in the market 
place agreeing to work for a specified sum. Others, 
eleventh-hour men — it is expressly stated that their 
idleness until that hour had not been their fault — enter 
into the day 's work at the same figure. Upon being paid 
off that night, the first group complain because the late- 
comers get as much as they. This spirit the parable 
tenderly but firmly rebuked: "Friend, I do thee no 
wrong; didst not thou agree with me for a penny.? " 

The programme of The Carpenter had in it no me- 
chanical and flat equality. No organization of society has 
yet been devised that relieves the individual of the hot 
fight with sin, the hourly wrestle with his own lower and 


selfish nature. There can be devised a social system that 
will help the individual in that fight — that will give him 
a chance: and this is all that Jesus promised. Helpful- 
ness could do no more. To every man a chance and the 
place in society to which his talents entitle him — that was 
his economic platform. The dexterous man will always be 
higher up than the incompetent and the gawk. The ten- 
talent man and the two-talent man are not equal, and no 
system of society can make them so. To be weighed in an 
even balance is all that the inhabitersof the kingdom of self- 
respect will ask. Jesus would not have committed the mis- 
take of saying, "all men are born free and equal." He 
would have put it, "all men are born free to become equal." 

However, despite the sanity and real constructiveness 
of his teaching — for there is nothing so safe for society 
as justice — the privileged caste multiplied their enmities 
against The Carpenter and hedged his way ever more 
narrowly. In the fact of his association with publicans 
they sought a handle against him, seeking by means of it 
to break his popularity with the people. If his enemies 
could have proved their point here, they would indeed 
have forged a telling weapon against him. For the 
publicans were unpopular — and justly so. They were 
the exactors of the trade taxes for the oppressive oligarchy 
at the top. They sat at "the receipt of custom," which 
was at the gate of a city or the end of a bridge, and col- 
lected a customs duty on all merchandise. They were 
the underlings of the hated Roman system of tribute, and 
were regarded by the patriots as betrayers of the cause 
of popular rights. It is important to note, therefore, 


that Jesus did not defend these publicans. On the con- 
trary he admitted their wrong doing. He likened them 
to sick people, who needed medical attention, and he ex- 
plained that his companionship with this class was in the 
capacity of a physician who was trying to cure them. 
They had been lured by the glitter of Roman gold, and 
needed therefore to be brought into the kingdom of self- 
respect. He affirms that he was rendering the popular 
cause a service in wdnning back to it as many of these ren- 
egades as possible: " I say unto you, Make to yourselves 
friends of the mammon of unrighteousness." "Wisdom 
is justified of her children." 

Jesus taught the people that they should display as 
much practical sagacity in advancing their cause as their 
enemies did in opposing that cause. In the Parable of 
the Unjust Steward he enforced the need of shrewdness 
in combating shrewdness. The steward who got the 
better of his rich overlord was simply meeting the over- 
lord on his own ground. That capitalist lord was an 
iniquitous man, and the steward, in entering his employ, 
was iniquitous per se. There was no pretence of justice 
on either side. Once started on an iniquitous game, the 
steward played it hard; and the lord commended him. 
Jesus, with his red-blooded masculine make-up, admired 
a successful villain more than he did an unsuccessful 
villain. If, therefore, the bad men display shrewdness, 
how important that the good men should display 
shrewdness, and in even greater degree! In exhorting 
the adherents of the liberation movement, therefore, to 
cultivate the same cool and far-seeing practicality which 
seK-seeking men use in compassing their ends, Jesus was 


uttering a truth of perennial freshness. Too often a cause 
that has in it much of promise for humanity comes to 
naught, because its promoters display not "the wisdom 
of the serpent." That often "the children of this world 
are in their generation wiser than the children of light," 
meets with confirmation on history's every page. 

The Carpenter admired a thoroughbred type of man. 
He appraised a human life for its plus value. He had 
more respect for a courageous bad man than for a weak- 
kneed good man. "Either make the tree good and its 
fruit good," said he, "or else make the tree corrupt and 
its fruit corrupt." The Romans, with their naked avowal 
of brutality and their cynical disclaimer of all idealistic 
motives, were preferable to the Pharisee type which, 
while making high-sounding pretensions, had nevertheless 
"their inward parts full of ravening and wickedness." 
The best results are obtained where the oppressors of the 
people are open in their avowal of oppression, and where 
the defenders of the people are equally open in their 
opposition to those oppressors. John the Evangelist, " the 
disciple whom Jesus loved," and who was in a position 
to learn him perhaps better than any other, exclaims amid 
those battle pictures in Revelation his disgust with the 
middle class type that is neither one thing nor the other: 
"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: 
I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou 
art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee 
out of my mouth." Out-and-out badness has not so 
corroding an effect on character as shame-faced goodness; 
for the latter loses its self-respect, and psychology abun- 
dantly teaches that that is the supreme loss, even the 


loss of chastity not telling fatally in characters such as 
Rousseau or Franklin or Jefferson, where, through some 
deficiency of early training, it brought no weakening of 

These doctrines were too robust for Palestine's ruling 
caste, saturated with cant and honeycombed with 
toadyism. And this series of audacious and vituperative 
parables intensified the opposition against him : so much so 
that Jesus begins to see disappointment ahead, and his 
words take on a tinge of bitterness. It is now that he 
points out with vehemence the perilous direction society 
is taking. The economic distress is mounting day by day. 
The avowed policy of the empire is bringing forth its 
perfect work. Slaves are being degraded into a deeper 
degradation; freemen are being pushed nearer to the verge 
of slavery. The rich are getting more rich, and the poor 
are increasingly impoverished. It was the vaunt of Au- 
gustus that he found Rome brick and left her marble. 
Perhaps true. But he should have added the other side 
of the picture: he found the provinces marble and left 
them brick. What though Italian villas were becoming 
resplendent with Greek marbles, with pictures, model- 
lings, and weavings from oriental art shops? What 
though architects in Rome were working overtime to 
make the Palatine Hill sumptuous with all man- 
ner of beauty ? It was the barbaric West adorning 
itself with plumage plucked alive from the quivering East. 

From its frequency of appearance in the par- 
ables of The Carpenter, it would seem that the 
relation of debtor and creditor was becoming well 
nigh universal. He perceives that men are cheap. 


and are daily becoming cheaper; things are dear, and are 
daily becoming dearer. The poverty at the bottom of 
the social lump is attended with a waxing opulence and 
ostentation at the top. In Rome and in the centres of 
the provincial oligarchies there is a sound of revelry, 
and it is becoming boisterous. The last restraint is cast 
oflF. Gluttony and pomp and lust are in high carnival. 
Gorged by the pillage of the proletariat, the exploiters 
are hard put to it to use up the revenues that are flow- 
ing in so merrily. For the nervous system has limits. 
It will respond to a certain amount of titillation, beyond 
which neurasthenia and madness lie. With many of them 
this limit has been reached. In the novel of Petronius, 
we see within the palaces a scene of orgy, a searching 
beyond nature for new nerve stimuli — attempts to get 
out of life more than there is in it. 

Jesus foresaw that this widening of the chasm por- 
tended disaster. A condition in which "between us and 
you there is a great gulf fixed" is an unstable equilibrium 
for society, and cannot last. Accordingly beneath all 
of his outgivings now there is heard the rumble of an 
approaching storm. So clearly is the debacle foreshad- 
owed to his mind that he fails to see how any can be 
blind to its approach. The social unrest seething in the 
masses can have but one event: "When ye see a cloud 
rise out of the West, straightway ye say. There cometh 
a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind 
blow, ye say. There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. 
Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the 
earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time.^^" 
Let it be remembered that this was thirty-five years 


before the storm, the Jewish war of liberation, actually 
broke. In intensity of combat and its results on history 
— sad results — few wars have equalled it. The Carpen- 
ter 's forecast of that conflict, a forecast which Was ful- 
filled almost in detail, is one of the most statesmanly 
predictions which the record of the mind of man affords. 

This is his picture of the social earthquake that was 
already beginning to heave: "Nation shall rise against 
nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and great earth- 
quakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pesti- 
lences, and fearful sights. And when ye see Jerusalem 
compassed with armies, then know that the desolation 
thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee 
to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it 
depart out; and let not them that are in the countries 
enter therein. For these be the days of vengeance.'* 
His picture of the sickening of heart of Jerusalem's oli- 
garchy as they felt the heave of the social crust under 
their feet, "men's hearts failing them for fear," is 
paralleled by the description Tacitus gives of the dread 
in the autocracy when they saw at last the fruit of their 
oppressions beginning to mature — a period which would 
be "rich in disasters, savage with battles, the swallowing 
up or overthrow of cities, the pollution of sacred functions." 

Society was already in the rapids. The Carpenter pointed 
out this fact to the rulers; he entreated them to harlc 
for a moment to the roar of the cataract toward which the 
current was bearing them. But his warning only set 
them against him the more. If the people were thus 
seditious, as he said they were, so much the more reason 
for the master class to stop the mouth of this carpenter 


fellow who "stirreth up the people." Accordingly they 
formed a coalition against him. This coalition could have 
but one result. 

The records have preserved to us his burst of heart 
when he saw that his career was perhaps to come un- 
timely to an end. The programme he had proposed, 
of making Israel a missionary nation to preach the king- 
dom of self-respect to the trodden proletariat everywhere, 
was a programme so reasonable, so continuous with her 
best Old Testament conscience, that he had counted on 
being able to win Jerusalem ofl&cially to it. He could 
prove to her that this was a necessary step for Israel's 
own safety as a nation; for in the past it was because 
Israel had held aloof from the oppressed classes of other 
races that she had been overtaken by the same oppression. 
He enforced this teaching by two contemporary happen- 
ings. Pilate had ruthlessly slain some Galileans. Jesus 
pointed to it as an illustration of the bloodthirsty character 
of the Roman rule, which would in time overtake them 
all: "I tell you, except ye get a new mind, ye shall all 
likewise perish." Also, a tower in Jerusalem fell one day, 
killing eighteen people. He used it to drive home to 
his hearers that, unless they brought about a change of 
affairs, all of the walls and towers of Jeruaslem would fall 
in a horrible war, and then there would be a taking of 
human life in earnest: "I tell you, unless ye get a new 
mind, ye shall all likewise perish," 

Looking back to that time from the clearer light of to- 
day, the plan which The Carpenter had marked out was 
no chimera, but had everything in its favour. The Jews 
had already glimpsed the idea that they were to be a 


missionary nation. Those words of Isaiah-of-the-Exile 
were echoing just then in many hearts: "It is a light 
thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the 
tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; 
I will also give thee for a light to the gentiles, that thou 
mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." An 
official word spoken by Jersualem 's sanhedrim — the 
diaspora throughout a hundred nations would have 
caught the torch and relayed it unto the ends of the 
Roman dominion. Democracy, the rights of the worker, 
the kingdom of self-respect — the proletariat everywhere 
was waiting for that message. With the propulsion of a 
united Israel behind that word, the Roman legions would 
have been powerless to check its propaganda. It would 
have converted many in those legions themselves unto 
it — as a fire in the forest transforms cold dead things 
into its own nature, and thus receives constantly fresh 
increments of propulsion. In the coming to them of The 
Kingdom, the proletariat of the ancient world would have 
been redeemed both from bondage to taskmasters and 
also from bondage to their own lower natures; the Orient 
would have been rescued from becoming the desolation 
which it is to-day; a thousand years of night would have 
been saved to Europe; the Jew, finding his life by losing 
it, would have become a dew of refreshment upon the face 
of the earth; and Christendom would have been spared 
the social crisis which, too long deferred, is now demand- 
ing settlement with a ghastly bill of arrearages. 

But Jerusalem knew not the time of her visitation. 
The hold of caste and privilege was too firm upon her. 
She had become inoculated with the empire's supersti- 


tious reverence for Privilege and its irreverence for People. 
Her first thought was for vested rights. And in saving 
those rights she lost them. Perhaps there are no sadder 
words in literature, both in the heartbreak that uttered 
them and in the omen of ill which their utterance boded, 
than the lamentation of The Carpenter when the disap- 
pointment was upon him; "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 
which killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent 
unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children 
together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings; 
and ye would notl" 


It was characteristic of The Carpenter, as soon as 
one edifice of hope crumbled, to begin the construc- 
tion of another. His first plan, that of winning the 
officialdom of the capital city to the liberation movement, 
was miscarrying. The tenure of his own life, amid the 
daily hazards by which he was surrounded, was becoming 
uncertain, so bitter was the exploiter class because of his 
inflammatory work among the people. He must provide 
against every contingency. An accident to himself 
must not stop the work. Accordingly he makes pro- 
vision for the propaganda of The Kingdom if he should 
be taken away. Some time before this he had sent forth 
a band of seventy emissaries on a preaching tour. On 
their return they reported a measure of success. He 
was overjoyed, for it was proof that the kingdom of self- 
respect had vitality in itself — was not dependent on 
his immediate presence. So that he exults, "I beheld 
Satan as lightning fall from heaven!" He now strength- 
ens his followers to stand alone. He draws in to him- 
self a few chosen spirits, and prepares them, should any- 
thing happen to himself, to take the leadership. Little 
by little he accustoms them to the thought that sometime 
or other he must be taken from them; saying, "the Son 



of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the 
elders and chief priests and scribes." Knowing the 
holding power of a personal attachment, he seeks to 
fasten his following to himself by the ligature of a per- 
sonal loyalty. His death is to make no difference in 
their relations with him, for he states that he will still 
be with them. 

It is undeniable, from any study of the record, that 
The Carpenter assumed a divine title, and sought from 
his followers a degree of loyalty which amounted to 
nothing less than worship. This has scandalized many 
since, and was indeed an offence to some in that day. 
For we read, "from that time many of his disciples 
went back, and walked no more with him." There were 
those in his own Nazareth who were offended at his 
assumption of a so great title; and for a time a coolness 
was threatened even from some of his own family. Never- 
theless he persisted in the claim; and a grateful world 
to-day declares him to have been in the right. In taking 
the step, he had in the imperator Octavius a notable 
precedent. The title "augustus," which that emperor 
assumed, carried with it an implication of divineness. 
Much what the term "augustus" meant to the Roman 
of that day, the term "christ" meant to the Jew. The 
habit of deifying mortals was familiar. An inscription 
carved to celebrate the birthday of the Emperor Augustus 
reads: "Not only has he surpassed the good deeds of 
men of earlier time, but it is impossible that one greater 
than he can ever appear. The birthday of God has 
brought to the world glad tidings that are bound up 
in him. From his birthday a new era begins." Heaven 


was thought of as very close to the earth — they were 
in such an intimate relationship one with the other 
that each sent to and received from the other duly 
accredited ambassadors. 

The step of assuming the title "christ" seems to have 
caused The Carpenter pause for a while. We find him 
sounding his disciples as to the sentiment of the general 
public toward him. He gets a various reply. "But 
whom say ye that I am?" Outspoken, loyal-hearted 
Peter exclaims, "Thou art the Christ!" It is the decid- 
ing moment. With an exultant committal, Jesus ex- 
claims his gratitude to Peter for so orotund a confidence: 
"Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonah: thy name means 
Rock; and upon this rock I will build my cause." From 
that time he is to his followers more than a man; he is 
the divine man. Rome had buttressed its "Empire of 
the Rights of Property" by surrounding it with a religious 
sanction — the idolatry of the Csesars! "To the genius 
of the divine Julius, father of his country, whom the 
senate and Roman people placed among the number 
of the gods," ran the senate's decree. The Carpenter 
meets them on their own ground. He also as- 
sumes the title and prerogatives of divinity, 
thereby investing his ** Empire of the Rights 
of Man" with a sanction equally high, equally 
authoritative. Rome's empire enforced the worship 
of her emperors by the drawn sword. Democracy's 
empire does not enforce the worship of The Carpen- 
ter by the drawn sword. To the query, "can there 
any good thing come out of Nazareth?" it answers, 
"come and see." 


As his career advances and the opposition intensifies 
in bitterness, Jesus hardens his note of austereness in 
treating of the privileged class. He perceives that a 
man pickled and tanned in the all-sacredness of property 
rights, and this through a lifetime, has lost the social 
conscience, is practically in hopeless case, and must be 
treated as an enemy of the human race. Therefore he 
draws a sharp line, marking off these unregenerate ones. 
He pricks them for proscription. He announces that 
men of a persistently anti-social spirit are not to be dealt 
with mercifully forever, but are after a while to be cast 
out from the company of the socially minded and to be 
destroyed. In the Dives parable, Abraham's non- 
chalant conversation with the chap in hell is almost 
creepy in its gruesomeness. The patriarchal father 
in heaven is exquisitely courteous to the poor fellow, 
but denies to his' torments one whit of mitigation. The 
sheep and the goats in the parable are sharply divided; 
so must a stern dealing be dealt to every one who "layeth 
up treasure for himself" and is regardless of the treasure 
of social solidarity. To hawk and tear at the fabric of 
society's oneness by means of economic wrong, was to him 
the great sin; he could not acquit it of blood-guiltiness. 
Jesus was lenient toward sins of the flesh. The fact 
that it was his enemies who brought before him the 
woman taken in adultery, "that they might have to 
accuse him," whispers that his general attitude toward 
this class of offenders was notoriously one of tenderness. 
Sins of the flesh are never long in coming to light; in- 
dividual mistreadings, they bring their own punishment 
swiftly, surely. Small need, therefore, that society step 


in here with harsh penalties. But economic sins are 
not so soon discoverable. These lie hidden deep in the 
social structure. They work their harm indirectly, at 
long remove from the initiating cause. They are long- 
range guns, masked, noiseless, smokeless; they kill and 
keep on killing, and the source of the death is not per- 
ceived. These are the dangerous sinners. 

Jesus did not toy with conscience, that drama of the 
soul with God. He inculcated a sense of sin, he sought 
to sharpen the pangs of guilt. But it was social sin he 
hit at. The pangs he inflicted were guilt pangs over 
a society deflowered and dismembered by economic 
iniquity. Jesus hunted this class down with an unbend- 
ing austerity. No hint of softness in his conception of 
the kingdom that he is ushering into the world. He 
regards democracy as an elemental force, moving down 
the centuries with might irresistible, and crushing gain- 
sayers like a falling millstone. Those who oppose this 
force will be frustrated; and those whom it opposes will 
be dashed into bits : " Whosoever shall fall on this stone 
shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will 
grind him to powder." Therefore we hear words of 
sentence from his lips, hard to the point of harshness: 
"Depart from me, ye cursed"; "cast ye the unprofitable 
servant into outer darkness"; he "will cut him in sunder, 
and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers." 

While he is in the midst of these castigations of the 
anti-social members of the human family, the time comes 
round for the celebration of the spring festival. To this 
passover feast will assemble in Jerusalem devout Jews 


from the diaspora of all the world. It is the time of 
times for The Carpenter to proclaim his message simul- 
taneously to representatives of the proletariat in every 
country — regions as far-sundered as the Tigris, the 
Nile, and the Tiber. This passover festival commemo- 
rated the delivery of Israel from her slavery in Egypt. 
It was her annual Independence Day, the anniversary 
of her economic liberation. But the freedom which 
they had then obtained under Moses had not endured. 
A bondage worse than that of Egpyt was now upon the 
land. It is accordingly a fit moment in which to get 
a hearing for the new liberation to which The Carpenter 
is summoning the people. He sets out to Jerusalem to 
be present at this paschal season. 

It appears that he has some idea, as soon as this pass- 
over shall be ended, of making a tour of the world. For 
we find the ruling caste questioning among themselves 
concerning such a move on his part, as though it were 
a topic of general conversation: "Will he go unto the 
dispersed among the nations, and teach the nations?" 
Such a tour would have been his logical next step. The 
Jews of the Dispersion had by this time come to be a 
distinct, an oflScially recognized section of the nation. 
Indeed they were getting to be a more important section 
than the one in Palestine itself. For the furtherance of 
his propaganda, they would be of strategic value to 
The Carpenter just now. For through their close con- 
tact with the proletariat of the various countries they 
would be so many roads already opened whereby he could 
reach the toiling masses in world-wide commonalty. 
Working-class G^Uk^ was already with him. With 


the dispersion also won to his cause, he would be able 
to get along without Jerusalem until the force of Jewish 
public opinion outside would compel her traitorous 
oligarchy to capitulate to him. The fact that the like- 
lihood of such a world tour by The Carpenter suggested 
itself to his enemies, and that they perceived the advan- 
tage his cause would gain thereby, certifies us that it had 
occurred to him also. For he was a tactician of the first 
order. He who exhorted his followers to be "wise as ser- 
pents' ' was not deficient in that wisdom himself. His career 
throughout impresses one as that of a master of strategy. 

He himself uses an expression at this time that sug- 
gests the presence in his thought of some such plan as 
a world tour. He was waited upon by a delegation of 
Jews from the Greek isles and mainland. They had 
heard of him. Now they sought him out. This move 
on their part was a small thing in itself. But there 
c)arried with it a vast significance. If the Jews of the 
dispersion were really hearing of him and were beginning 
to manifest an interest in him, it was a sign that the 
time was ripe for him to reach out into this world field. 
He therefore makes no attempt to conceal his joy at 
the event. He breaks out in an exultant exclamation: 
"The hour is come!" 

In going up to the passover, Jesus makes a state 
entry into the capital city. Upon seeing him thus enter, 
the people hail him as "the Son of David." It was a 
title freighted with significance. David had come forth 
from the common people. Indeed, in his early days 
he had been a sort of Robin Hood leading a troop of 
men in the greenwood, outlaws from the then existing 


order of society. For we read: "David there^ 
upon departed thence, and escaped to the cave 
AduUam; and when his brethren and all his father's 
house heard it, they went down thither to him. And 
every one that was in distress, and every one that was 
in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered 
themselves unto him; and he became a captain over 
them; and there were with him about four hundred 
men." Matthew's Gospel claims for Jesus a lineal de- 
scent from this outlaw fellow. Jesus was fond of referring 
to himself as David's descendant. 

The narative states that, when in Jerusalem, Jesus 
went into the Temple, and "looked round about upon 
all things." The parties in control there should not 
have permitted so close an inspection, and least of all 
from so detective and penetrating a pair of eyes as were 
now at gaze. For there were goings on in that Temple 
enclosure which were not meant for the light of day. 
One reads of the Roman conquerors that, in their fre- 
quent tours through the provinces, they plundered the 
temples, and acquired great wealth thereby. Associating 
that word "temple" with a modern church building, 
the reader is puzzled at the reference. The thing be- 
comes clear, however, when it is explained that in ancient 
days the temples, besides being places for worship, were 
also centres of finance. Often it was "high finance." 
This was particularly true of the Temple in Jerusalem. 
To be a member of its priestly retinue was to be in a 
moneyed aristocracy; for the Temple revenues were 
large and unfailing. Next to the governor, to be a priest 
was to occupy the most lucrative position. For the priest 


had a slice of all that the people produced. Laws reg- 
ulated to a nicety what and how much should be brought 
to the Temple as sacrifice. And these "offerings" 
were enforced. 

In early times the priest got his share of the sacrifices 
in crude fashion. When the meat had been put into the 
pot to boil, the priest or his servant came with a flesh 
hook of three teeth and stuck it into the caldron. He 
took as his share all that the hook brought out. The 
sons of Eli were severely blamed in that they sought to 
select their portions more definitely from the raw meat. 
But the systematizing went forward, nor was the priest's 
share lessened thereby. All the skins and fleeces of the 
animals sacrificed belonged to them, and were sold by 
them to the tanners and weavers of the city. These 
priest-princes — for it was an hereditary aristocracy, 
religiously buttressed — also received the first fruits 
(that is, the first pick) of all produce of the ground, of the 
orchards, the best of the dough or bread, the firstlings 
of the herds or flocks, with the first-born of the children. 
The last named were redeemable by quit-money, fifty 
shekels a head if a boy, and thirty shekels if a girl. Thus 
the priest-princes found themselves in possession of raw 
materials in considerable quantity, so that they mingled 
largely in the trade of the country. Practically every 
priest was a trader. Josephus tells us that some priests 
in his day had "gotten great riches from these tithes.'* 
The cupidity of the Sadducean rulers of the Temple 
was notorious. 

Besides being the centre thus of a busy trade, the 
Temple was also a kind of banking house. Money was 


deposited there for safe keeping. Says Josephus, "the 
wealthy had there built chambers for themselves." This 
was because of the sanctity of the place, which gave a 
measure of security. (Security however which, as we 
have seen, availed not as against the Romans, who prided 
themselves that they never permitted barriers of senti- 
ment to impede their wishes at any point; Crassus on 
his march through the East had broken into the Temple 
here and robbed it.) The high priest and his set loaned 
money on interest, and were financiers on a large scale. 

The ritual laws themselves were framed for the benefit 
of these Jerusalem traders. Three times a year the 
people were summoned to the capital for a sacred festival. 
The statutes encouraged the people to bring cash with 
them on these trips instead of goods: "Then thou shalt 
turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, 
and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God 
shall choose. And thou shalt bestow that money for 
oxen, etc. And the Levite that is within thy gates, 
thou shalt not forsake him." So large by these means 
had the fortunes of the priest-nobility become, that they 
invested it in large landed properties outside of Je- 
rusalem — ^properties which, in addition to their family 
estates, now swelled with their revenues their already 
swollen incomes. To assist them in the handling of 
their business accounts, they had about the Temple a 
large staff of clerks and officials. 

It is not wonderful, therefore, that the "elders of 
the people and the chief priests and the scribes" had 
fallen in readily with the Roman "System," whereby, 
in return for the mere loss of popular sovereignty and 


national self-resp«ct, this local oligarchy was buttressed 
by the Roman legions in its comfortable position on the 
backs of the people. Nowhere more than in Palestine 
was Rome's empire of intimidation needed by the native 
aristocracy. The Jewish populace, incurably seditious 
by nature and by religion, was at this time rising in 
revolt against their Jerusalem oppressors, and would 
have unseated them from their fat privileges had it not 
been for the Roman garrison in Fort Antonia which 
overlooked the Temple with its frown of military might. 
Even with the help of the Romans, the Temple set 
were with difficulty maintaining themselves against 
the rising popular storm. For that priest-nobility had 
of late achieved a further refinement in their system of 
exploiting the worshippers at the Temple. A statute 
prescribed that the Temple sacrifices must be with 
animals ceremonially clean and unblemished. The 
priests in each case were the sole judges. This put a 
leverage in their hands which they had not been slow 
to use. They had established a market inside the Tem- 
ple inclosure for the sale of sheep and oxen for sacrifice. 
A lowly worshipper, poor but with devotion still aflame 
within him, would come up to the capital at the festival 
season, and would buy an animal for sacrifice in the 
public markets of the city where, because of the healthy 
competition, prices were normal. When he brought this 
animal to the Temple, however, the priest officials would 
proceed solemnly to inspect it; and then, with sorrowful 
countenance, would announce to the trembling wor- 
shipper that, nowever sound it might appear to the 
unpractised eye, the animal was ceremonially unsound. 


Thereupon the man was compelled to buy an animal of 
one of the traders in the Temple. This trader exacted 
a "ceremonially" advanced price, because the Temple 
walls shut out competition from the outside; and the trader 
and the priest would divide the profits. We can well 
believe that the price of stalls in this Temple bazaar had 
been splendidly advanced by the monopoly privileges 
thus conferred. Moreover the Temple tax was payable 
in the Temple currency only, by reason of that old 
statute of Israel which declared that no coin bearing the 
image of a despot or potentate could be recognized as 
legitimate. This provided work for another class of 
traders, the "money-changers," whereby a further 
extortion was practised upon the poor. 

The Carpenter "looked round about" on these doings. 
As a matter of fact he needed not a personal tour to 
inform him of the abuses. The air was vocal with 
complaints. In the pilgrim groups that journeyed up 
to Jerusalem at the time of a feast — they travelled 
in bands, the people from each district organizing a 
united pilgrimage — one of the favourite topics of con- 
versation was this system of extortion under which the 
people suffered at the hands of the oflficial Jerusalemite 
set. The people turned their thoughts longingly to 
the patriarchal simplicity of early days, when the 
nation had been one family — as in the insurrection 
under Wat Tyler, when the slogan was: "When Adam 
delved or Eve span, where was then the gentleman?" 
Now thousands of their countrymen were toiling on 
the mountains of Lebanon, in the glens and caves of 


Judah, in the mines of the Sinai range, and in a hundred 
galleys of the sea, in order that a few princely and trai- 
torous families in Jerusalem might live in sumptuous 
ease; Herod gorging himself with infamy in his palace 
in Jericho, and the Roman invader sucking millions in 
revenue out of the country to support obscene orgies on 
the banks of the Tiber. The rage of the people went 
out principally against the priest class: "They bind 
heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them 
on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move 
them with one of their fingers. But all their works 
they do for to be seen of men; they make broad the 
phylacteries of their garments and love the uppermost 
rooms at feasts, and the chief seats at synagogues, and 
greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, 

To the guilt of extortion the priests had added the — 
to the people — even greater guilt of treason : They 
were in league with the invader. The first procurator 
appointed by Tiberius had changed the occupancy of 
the high priesthood four times, until he had found in 
Caiaphas a crafty and submissive instrument of Roman 
tyranny. Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Annas. The 
"house of Annas" was notorious for its greed. Annas 
himself had large influence with the Romans, due to his 
open partisanship of them, and to his enormous wealth. 
His "house" is charged specifically with the crime of 
"whispering" — private influence on the judges. His 
revenues from the Temple booths — "the booths of 
the sons of Annas" — were enormous. This high priestly 
family is described as "bold, licentious, unscrupulous, 


degenerate." There was something rotten in the state. 
The people poured their woes plentifully into the ear of 
their Carpenter tribune while they journeyed up together 
to this feast of the passover. Those woes awoke in him 
an explosion of wrath against the Jerusalem set. 

The outburst took place one day while he was in the 
Temple. What the people had been telling him was 
confirmed now by what his eyes witnessed. It incensed 
him to one of those fine flashes of indignation which 
stand out so vividly in his career. Jesus had a splen- 
did capacity for losing his temper. Seizing several of 
the thongs by which animals had been tied and which 
were scattered about on the flagging, he twisted them into 
a lash and with it he scourged an entire section of the 
Temple merchandisers out of the court and onto the 
street: "It is written, My house shall be called a house 
of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." It 
has excited comment in modern readers, that he was 
able to accomplish this cleansing of the Temple single- 
handed. The explanation is that he was not single- 
handed. The city and the Temple inclosure were at 
that moment thronged with worshippers who were 
ruminating countless wrongs received at the hands of 
those priest-traders. In this deed, therefore, he had 
the active sympathy of a host of huzzahing men. It 
was probably the most popular move Jesus had ever made. 
He was now the hero of the city. 

The extent of the popular following which Israel gave 
to Jesus has been unfairly covered up and forgotten. 
The traditional lives of him have been written largely 
under the sDell of Paul of Tarsus, whose desertion of 


the Jewish faith in order that he might curry favour with 
the Romans made it needful for him, in the midst of the 
attacks upon him from his enraged fellow IsraeHtes, to 
picture Jesus as having also suffered at the hands of the 
Jews. Paul was sincere, according to his lights. He 
spun a theory of Jesus and of Christianity largely out of 
his own brain, and regarded it as heaven-sent. We, 
however, have an advantage that Paul lacked. The 
gospel narratives were not written until after his time, 
or, at least, not until after the biggest part of his literary 
output had been completed, and his doctrinal ideas had 
formed and become set. We therefore have documentary 
evidence as to The Carpenter, where Paul had only hear- 
say; and the documentary evidence disproves in toto the 
theory that Jesus was rejected by his nation. The glad 
acclaim with which the common people greeted him 
and saw in him their deliverer, protrudes from every 
page of the record. The fires of the conflagration that 
were to break out in revolution a few years later, 
were already kindled in the hearts of the multitude. 
The gospel narrative heaves and tosses on a thin crust 
separating from the volcanic heats underneath. Take 
away those interior fires, the story is unintelUgible. Not 
a public utterance of The Carpenter but had reference, 
direct or indirect, to the insurgency that was a-boil in 
the hearts of the people. He was never at pains to seek 
popularity; it was thrust upon him. His effort was to 
curb that popularity rather than to incite it. Until he 
appeared, the people were "as sheep not having a shep- 
herd." Now that they had obtained a shepherd, they 
rallied to him with an embarrassing wealth of loyalty. 


That the Jews refused to receive Jesus, is one of the eruel- 
est libels ever visited on a people. References to the 
enthusiasm which they lavished upon him are frequent. 
We read that "they thronged him'*; "all the city was 
gathered together at the door"; "they came from every 
quarter"; he "could not so much as eat bread"; "the 
people all hung upon him, listening"; "they said unto 
him. All men seek for thee." As a background to the 
story throughout, stand "the multitudes." Erase them, 
the narrative is meaningless. 

And this popularity followed him in Jerusalem during 
this last week — it was to prove his death week. In 
order to draw attention to his message, he had made his 
entry into Jerusalem dramatic by means of a stately 
procession; and "a very great multitude spread their 
garments in the way; others cut down branches from 
the trees, and strewed them in the way." We read, 
"all the people were very attentive to hear him." His 
cleansing of the Temple, driving out thence the federated 
and officially entrenched thieves who had been for long 
preying on the people, was an immediately popular act: 
"Then assembled together the chief priests and the 
scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of 
the high priest who was called Caiaphas, and consulted 
that they might take Jesus by subtlety and kill him. 
But they said. Not on the feast day, lest there be an 
uproar among the people." Again: "Early in the 
morning he came into the Temple, and all the people 
came unto him; and he sat down and taught them." 
Again: "If we let him thus alone, all men will believe 
on him." The fact that there was a crowd of court 


hangers-on who shouted for his death when he was 
brought before Pilate, brings no weight of contrary 
evidence. In every city is a rabble that can be suborned 
for any purpose whatsoever; and we are told that this 
particular group — an early-morning gang — had been 
expressly coached by the Caiaphas coterie as to what 
they should say. So greatly was Jesus the popular hero 
that when he wished an animal to ride upon for his state 
entry into Jerusalem, or a room in which to celebrate 
the passover feast, he is represented as merely sending 
a request for the same and taking it as if granted; 
and in both cases the confidence was not disappointed. 
We can well believe of the opposition, therefore, that 
"when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared 
the multitude." 

The Carpenter now was safe so long as he was in the 
presence of the people. His bearing at this time evidences 
his perfect assurance of safety, provided they were 
around. For we read that "he taught daily in the 
temple." He was at home in the restaurants and wine- 
shops of Jerusalem, and by his winsome camaraderie 
made friends among the common people everywhere. 
The philippic he delivered at this time against the Jeru- 
salem oligarchy would not have been possible in one 
who had not the backing of the populace. For that 
invective is in words which sting like whip-lashes. As 
e. piece of concentrated verbal damnation, it stands prob- 
ably without a peer. The hot metaphors race upon the 
heels of one another, surging from out of an oceanic 
wrath and speeded by a poet's command of epithet: 
"Woe unto you!" "Ye devour widows' houses; ye 


shall receive the greater damnation.'* "Child of hell!" 
"Ye blind guides." "Ye fools, and blind.'* "Hypo- 
crites!" "Ye strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." 
"Full of extortion and excess." "Whited sepulchres 
full of dead men's bones!" "Serpents!" "Generation 
of vipers ! " " How can ye escape the damnation of hell? " 
Of similar strain was the parable of the vineyard keepers 
— those rulers of Israel who forgot that their position 
at the head of the nation was a stewardship, a trust to be 
used for the people, and who exploited that trust for 
their own enrichment! "And the chief priests and the 
scribes sought to lay hold on him, but feared the 
people; for they knew that he had spoken the parable 
against them." 

His purging of the Temple — that capitol building 
of the Jewish nation, the centre of its civic life — and 
his invective against the traitorous Jerusalem set, had 
now introduced the Nazarene to the thousands of Jews 
from abroad who were in the city for the festal season. 
The Jews of the dispersion were fanatical in their attach- 
ment to Israel and to her tradition of the rights of man: 
so much so that their presence in the capital at feast 
time was always the signal for extraordinary precautions 
on the part of the rulers against outbreak. Pilate's oflScial 
seat was at Csesarea, but he changed his residence to 
Jerusalem during each passover season, to preserve order. 
Quite as much as any other section of their race, these 
Jews from abroad were turbulent in their protests against 
the presence of the Romans in Israel's capital, and 
against the traitorous Jewish oligarchy for coalescing 
with those Romans. In quelling an insurrection at the 


passover season a few years before this, Arehilaus the 
Herodian king had slaughtered three thousand of these 
Jewish pilgrims. Moreover because of Rome's mount- 
ing jealousy of Jerusalem — the latter disputed with 
Rome the honour of being" the world capital — the em- 
pire was putting ever increasing dangers in the way of 
the Jews of the dispersion to revisit their holy city. 
These pilgrims, therefore, hailed with joy this popular 
hero from Galilee who was announcing the advent of 
a new order of society: "The Pharisees said among 
themselves. Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing.^ behold 
the world is gone after him." The Jews of the diaspora 
would go back to their homes when the passover should 
be ended; back to the valley of the Euphrates, to the 
Greek islands in the ^Egean, to the ports of the Mediter- 
ranean from the Pillars of Hercules to the Caspian Sea; 
and there they would tell how a leader, a redeemer of 
the working class, had at last appeared; and they would 
prepare an entry for him into their countries, when he 
should reach them on his tour among the nations. 

It would almost seem as if the fear of some such a tour 
on his part, as soon as the passover should be ended, 
prompted the Temple clique to action; for it was when 
he was eating the paschal supper that they came down 
upon him. A few hours more, and there would be noth- 
ing to keep him in the city, for the passover would be 
closed and he would be free to follow up among the 
nations the success which his daring in the presence of 
representatives from all the world had in the last few 
days achieved for him. 



A COMPLIMENT is duc the Caiaphas crowd for the 
shrewdness which they displayed in effecting the 
capture of The Carpenter. Jesus, when the people were 
present, was safe. In the daytime, therefore, he walked 
openly: "Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not 
this he whom they seek to kill? But lo, he speaketh 
boldly, and they say nothing imto him." The night was 
the time of danger, for then the people were asleep. It 
seems that Jesus accordingly concealed his whereabouts 
carefully after sundown. He did not trust himself in 
the city then, but went outside the walls to a camp in the 
fields. He also took the additional precaution of arming 
two of his disciples with swords. He seems effectually 
to have hidden his place of nightly sojourn, because we 
find that the authorities were baflSed. The bribe to 
Judas would not have been negotiated had they not 
needed some one on the inside to guide them in 
a night attack. In keeping his whereabouts a secret, 
Jesus seems furthermore to have had the active coopera- 
tion of the people at large. For the rulers had issued an 
edict whose purpose was to break up a popular con- 
spiracy of concealment: "Now both the chief priests 
and the Pharisees had given commandment that if any 


man knew where he was, he should show it, that they 
might take him.'* 

The night of the paschal supper presented to Caiaphas 
and his party the opportunity they sought. The Carpen- 
ter realized the danger; nevertheless he did not permit it 
to take him out of the city on this night when the passover 
was to be celebrated. Another name for the supper was, 
The Feast of Unleavened Bread; because the Israelites 
in their haste to escape from the brickyards of Egypt 
had not had time to set bread for the journey and allow 
it to raise. An upper room was chosen by Jesus, perhaps 
for the reason that it could be more easily defended in case 
of attack. The venom of the privileged caste against him 
has now reached a point where his chances of life are slim. 
And he purposes, if this shall be the last passover he can 
eat with his disciples, to make it a memorable occasion. 
It was customary at this feast for the youngest present to 
ask: "Why is this night different from all other nights? 
what mean ye by this service? " Whereupon the head of 
the family or of the company would reply by a recapitu- 
lation of the history of the escape out of Egypt. Jesus 
seizes upon this custom to connect forever after his own 
movement for the liberation of the people, with this supper. 
With characteristic brazenness the Jerusalem set had 
wrested the paschal feast from its original significance; 
they were proclaiming themselves to be the successors 
of Moses. Jesus pointed out the ludicrousness of this 
position: "The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses's 
seat." The priest-mind was keen to garnish the tombs 
of the prophets — those revolutionists who were dead and 
therefore safe — but they had no ear§ for this plebeian 


and dangerous fellow from Nazareth. They embalmed 
Moses, the labour-leader of the past, into the orthodoxy 
of the present. As is done in every age; your true 
conservative is he who worships a dead radical. Jesus 
now purposes that this indecency shall be permitted no 
longer: "With desire I have desired to eat this passover 
with you." And he proceeds to point out the parallel 
between that ancient deliverance under Moses, and the 
one to which he himself is summoning the people. He 
bids them, should he be killed, to celebrate him also in 
this feast for all time thereafter. The wine and the un- 
leavened bread, which memorialized Israel 's escape from 
the slave pens of Goshen, were to be symbols also of this 
new restoration unto which he was summoning them. 
"Do this, as oft as ye shall eat it, in remembrance of me." 

The Caiaphas set had already begim to tamper with 
the disciple band, by holding out bribes of money. Hints 
to this effect had reached Jesus, perhaps through some 
member of the upper class; for patriotism still lived in the 
breasts of some of the Jewish nobles. The glitter of 
Roman gold and Roman pomp could not dazzle from their 
vision all remembrance of Israel 's tradition of democracy. 
So that, "among the chief rulers also many believed on 
him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess 
him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." 
Nicodemus was one of these. Another was Joseph of 
Arimathea, "a good man and a just." 

Wherever the leak, Jesus got the information. At the 
supper he refers to it. Some one of the disciple band, 
says he, has been listening too willingly to the clink of 

Assassination i^i 

money in the palms of the enemy. There is an interpo- 
lated statement here that Jesus pointed Judas out as the 
one. This is in line with the motive which is especially 
conspicuous in the Fourth Gospel. ' Its writer thinks of 
the death of Jesus as a theatrical event, planned and re- 
hearsed long before. To him the scene on Calvary is 
a dramatic performance to which the actor went with his 
stage manners on, knowing beforehand just how it was 
going to happen and chiefly concerned with acting his 
part impressively. The high irreverence of such a view 
seems not to have struck the writer. If there is one char- 
acteristic in The Carpenter more outstanding than another, 
it is his genuineness. Cant and affectation of any kind 
were to him a thing detestable. There was in his make-up 
a refreshing absence of staginess. A man brought up 
among the working class, and trained through the great- 
est part of his life as- a mechanic, does not attitudinize, 
either before his companions or for posterity. He has 
a work to do and he does it, and he subordinates all things 
else to its accomplishment. 

The impossibility of treating so genuine a man as this 
from the view-point of a poser, is seen in the contradictions 
that arise when these artificial motives are interpolated 
into the record. After stating that Jesus had pointed out 
Judas as his betrayer and had bade him go and consum- 
mate the villainy, the record adds : " No man at the table 
knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some 
of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus 
had said unto him. Buy those things that we have need 
of." But the greatest contradiction of all is that which 
pictures the death of Jesus as a suicide, a sublime one to 


be sure, but suicide nevertheless. There are situations 
in which it is easier to die than to live; the bra\e choice 
is to keep on living. If Jesus had brought his cause to a 
point where the pressure began to be felt, and then vol- 
untarily left that little band to bear the brunt alone, it 
would not be reckoned in him for heroism. But such a 
supposition is not necessary from the records taken as a 
whole. The Carpenter wished to live. He fought against 
death to the last. 

Judas was the only disciple who was not a Galilean. 
It is more than likely that the other eleven had now and 
then taken advantage of this fact, making him understand 
that they were nearer to their Nazarene leader than he 
could ever hope to be. Perhaps it was because of this 
lonesome position of Judas that Jesus had selected him out 
to be the treasurer and therefore the business agent for 
the disciple band. But this had not altogether succeeded. 
Galileans, in the intensity of their patriotism and their 
working-class consciousness, were marked ofiP so sharply 
from the other sections in Palestine that there was a soli- 
darity among them. And Judas was still isolated. 
Apparently the astute clique of chief rulers, perceiving 
probably from his accent that Judas was the only non- 
Galilean among them, focussed their temptations upon 
him. It seems that he had thus far listened to them only 
tentatively and had not as yet come to the yielding p)oint. 
Now, however, hearing the enigmatical statement of 
Jesus to the effect that one of the disciple band was lis- 
tening to treasonable proposals, he is self-accused by a 
conscience natively tender and quick; he infers that his 
coquetting with the rulers is discovered, that it is all 


up with him henceforward with the disciples. In the 
confusion of his spirit, he impulsively decides to take the 
step. Making some excuse or other to the company about 
buying provisions for the morrow, and having learned 
where they intend to go after the supper, he leaves them, 
presents himself to the chief priests, and accepts the bribe 
offer. "And they were glad, and covenanted to give him 
money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to 
betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude." 
Judas was not altogether bad. The fact that The 
Carpenter, who was highly clairvoyant in reading char- 
acter, chose him out from the large number of his followers 
to be one of the twelve — the inner group — speaks 
much. The fact that out of this twelve he was picked 
for the trusted position of treasurer, speaks still more. 
Further still, the fact that his own conscience, immedi- 
ately after the traitorous deed, accused him with an 
utter abandon of remorse, speaks most of all. In less 
than twelve hours after he had done the deed, he comes 
to himself. Thereupon, man-fashion, he seeks to make 
amend in every way possible — he puts forth an utter effort 
to save his master. He goes to the chief priests as Jesus 
is about to be sentenced, and recants his recantation. 
It is a perilous step for him personally. Nevertheless he 
takes it and without flinching. He stands boldly before 
the tyrannical chief magistrates and pleads the cause of 
his aforetime lord. It is one of the most courageous acts 
recorded between the covers of the Bible. For this was 
during a reign of terrorism, when even members of the rul- 
ing class such as Nicodemus visited the Galilean by night, 
if they visited him at all. Free speech was not tolerated. 


A military dictatorship, under the control largely of an 
irresponsible and venomous hierarchy, was upon the city. 
Judas takes his life in his hands when he thus openly 
identifies himself with the hated Nazarene, and champions 
his cause. But the recantation avails not. Judas is 
laughed at for his pains. Thereupon he refuses to profit 
by the proceeds of his deed. He throws the thirty pieces 
of silver at their feet, and makes the one last restitution: 
he "departed, and went and hanged himself." 

Judas is an illustration of the irresistible charm which 
the personality of The Carpenter exercised upon those 
who came within its magnetism. No play actor strutting 
through a carefully rehearsed part could have laid so 
magical a spell upon the hearts of men. His personal 
appearance and make-up are not described. Herein his 
portrayers show highest art, for the best literary portrait 
is that in which the words and deeds of the man do the 
describing. Reading thus between the lines, we see in the 
Workingman of Nazareth a titanic intellect coupled up 
with a heart rarely combining strength with kindliness; 
one who was genuinely a friend of the toilers, loving them 
with a great love and hating their oppressors with a great 
hate, and thereby weaving a spell over his followers 
which no offer of gold or place or power from the enemy 
could avail to break; it could alienate not one of them. 

Nevertheless, though Judas atoned with an utter atone- 
ment, the effects of his deed were swiftly disastrous. 
Lingering in the upper room over the supper 's table-talk, 
Jesus seems after a while to have become suspicious of the 
failure of Judas to return. During the last five days he 
has been constantly beset by danger. The atmosphere 


round about him has been tense with spydom and treach- 
ery. He has got through the perilous week thus far, 
and is nearly at its end. It will not do to take chances now. 
He deems it safer to get outside the city walls. The nar- 
row streets of Jersualem, particularly during the unlamped 
night, afford too many opportunities to hired bands of 
assassins operating under cover of 'midnight brawlers. 
Therefore he brings the supper to an end, in order to get 
out into the open country: '* Arise, let us go hence.'* 
He is prepared to fight his way out if necessary: "He 
that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 
And they said. Lord, behold, here are two swords. And 
he said unto them. It is enough.'' 

It had been his custom to bivouac at night in an olive 
grove beyond the brook Cedron. Thither he now leads 
his eleven. They reach there safely. But it is not a time 
to omit precautions. He leaves his disciples to serve as a 
lookout: "Tarry ye here, and watch." He himself goes 
to another part of the garden, perhaps where the ground 
is higher. The wait is not for long. He discovers that 
his fears were well-grounded. The lanterns of an armed 
cohort coming out against him suddenly round into view 
and cover every avenue of escape — weapons glittering 
in the light of torches. He is in a trap. Judas has 
played his part well. The high priests have got from 
Pilate a detachment of soldiers from Fort Antonia — the 
Jerusalem fortress named after Mark Antony — and are 
come against Jesus strongly armed. Escape is cut off. 
The multitudes, who have been his natural defenders, 
are iar scattered through the city, sleeping off the effects 
of the feast. Word of his danger cannot reach them in 


time. The craft of the rulers has prevailed. The strat- 
agem is complete. 

Leaving his disciples, Jesus goes a few paces into the 
darkness. There he falls upon his face; he cries to heaven 
in his agony. Just when his cause had commenced to 
move so auspiciously, with the representatives from the 
world-wide dispersion rallying to him and with an enter- 
ing wedge among the Jewish ruling class itself, to be trap- 
ped in the dark and slain in this fashion — it broke him 
down! Not fear for himself caused the agony of that 
Gethsemane moment. He had been born and bred to a 
life of hardness. Nerve flabbiness was not in his make- 
up. No bodily shrinking, or the disgrace of a felon's 
death, could have wrung from him sweat, "as it were 
great drops of blood falling down to the ground." His 
fear was for the stability of his disciples. One of them 
had already gone over to the enemy. Would it not be 
thus with them all? "I will smite the shepherd, and the 
sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.'* (This anx- 
iety for the continued ongoings of the word is revealed 
in his request a few minutes later — of a shrewdness 
unsuspected by the enemy, or they would not have granted 
it — that his captors take only himself and spare his 
disciples: "If therefore ye seek me, let these go their 
way.'*) He had had many things yet to say imto those 
disciples, and now he was to be wrested from them. He 
had only begun to deliver his message in its large unfold- 
ings. Considering how treasured is every slightest word 
of The Carpenter, his untimely taking off was a loss to the 
literature of the world. For he was still in his thirties. 
That oceanic mind had in it deeps of thought as yet un- 


plumbed, pearl beds of imagery as yet untapped. He 
was the livest man that ever lived; and he was never more 
aJive than at this moment wherein his previous successes 
in Galilee had culminated in far more important successes 
in Jerusalem itself with the eyes of the world at gaze upon 
him. A master of situations, a prolific brain, of unwea- 
ried intellectual energy, a tireless activity, an elasticity of 
mind that was adapting itself with ease to the most widely 
divergent conditions, rich in passion, bending every- 
thing to his iron will — these powers were now redoub- 
ling beneath the stimulus of success and popularity. 
That rarest of blends — a man of imagination and action 
— he was but just at the threshold of his career. Hence 
the Gethsemane prayer, the strong man crying out against 
his untimely taking off. That prayer is incontrovertible 
evidence : the death of Jesus was not a self-murder. 

The soldiers close in on him. They greatly outnumber 
his company. But there is something siderial in the 
majesty of the man. They fall back. Peter, impet- 
uous as ever, seizes upon this moment of their discom- 
fiture to draw his sword. Apparently there ensues a more 
or less serious scuffle. A young man of the disciple group, 
who seems to have been John Mark, got into the thick of 
it and only escaped by leaving his linen garment in the 
hands of the soldiers and fleeing naked. He was known 
afterward by the epithet, "the stump-fingered," and 
perhaps received the wound in this midnight scrimmage. 
Turning to the "chief priests and captains of the Temple, 
and the elders which were come out against him," Jesus 
taunts them with their cowardice in coming upon him in 
the night and for not daring an open challenge in the day- 


time when the people would be awake and could rally to 
him: "When I was daily with you in the Temple, ye 
stretched forth no hands against me; but this is your hour, 
and the power of darkness." His disciples make their 
escape, apparently at a quiet suggestion to that effect 
from Jesus — his resourcefulness not forsaking him even 
now. He himself is taken into custody. 

The Caiaphas band drag him to immediate trial. It is 
now about midnight. The thing must be despatched be- 
fore the multitudes wake up the next morning and get 
wind of the affair; therefore legal forms are dispensed with. 
The hold of this popular hero on the masses is so great 
that if his execution is delayed until the populace learn 
of the move they will rally to his defence and rescue him 
by force of numbers. "Straightway," therefore, they 
proceed to convict him before the ecclesiastical tribunal. 
This accomplished, they bear him before the Roman 
governor, Pilate. The haste with which they have ex- 
pedited the matter is indicated in that the cocks do not 
begin to crow until the trial has well advanced. The 
charge they bring against him was strangely true: "He 
stirreth up the people." "We found this fellow pervert- 
ing the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar." 
And this to Pilate: "If thou let this man go, thou art 
not Caesar's friend." It seems also that, construing some 
statement of his in reference to the Temple, in accord- 
ance with his recent damnatory epithets against the 
robber gang that had got possession of it, they charge 
him also with having planned to destroy that building. 
His infinite contempt for the Herod family was 
known, a contempt which was not blinded into homage 


by Herod the Great's ostentatious gift of this Temple 
structure out of money pillaged from the people. No 
smoke without some fire; people could with reason be- 
lieve that Jesus was going to raze this building to the 

It has been imagined by some that Pilate had a spasm 
of conscientiousness, and was sincerely desirous of saving 
Jesus from death. But his sincerity will not stand close 
examination. History has dealt with Pilate's reputation 
unfavourably; it accuses him of "venality, robbery, per- 
secutions, wanton malicious insults, judicial murders.'* 
His financial crimes in Palestine, his cowardice, and his 
true Roman cynicism toward virtue of any sort, had in- 
capacitated him for a just and straightforward course in 
any matter. He passed his days and nights amid a horde 
of intriguers, in a welter of petty greeds, lusts, rivalries, 
and palace revolutions. Hardly would an archangel have 
been proof against so corroding an environment. Any 
one who knows Pontius Pilate, or in fact any other of the 
Roman governors of a province in those days, will under- 
stand that conscience was not a part of their make-up. 
They were not chosen for the place because of their moral 
sensitiveness and ethical insight. Their job was that of 
slave driver over an entire province. Brutality and 
moral bluntness were the qualities needed. Tenderness 
of conscience would have operated as a distinct disqual- 
ification for the office. Pilate 's show of friendliness toward 
the prisoner in question seems to have been prompted 
in part by a motive of personal pique. He and Herod 
had had a falling out. "They were at enmity between 
themselves," is the way the narrative states it. Pilate 


believed that Jesus was raising an insurrection in order to 
make himself king of Palestine; therefore he seems to have 
been willing to leave this artisan pretender alive for 
a while, to serve as a thorn rankling in Herod *s thigh. 

But Pilate had a still more urgent reason for his show 
of decency toward Jesus. And this was, fear of his wife. 
Pilate's wife had had a dream concerning this prisoner. 
Perhaps she had seen him hauled through the streets that 
midnight, bound and helpless; and her sympathies, 
woman-fashion, had been aroused. One of the character- 
istics of The Carpenter throughout was his influence over 
women. From the first he attracted their attention and 
won allegiance from many of them. They, perhaps more 
than any other class in that day, needed a deliverer. The 
despotism that was upon the lower orders everywhere, 
was upon them in redoubled heaviness. They were 
hardly recognized by law, and had small standing in its 
tribunals. Forced by the economic distress to go out 
to day-labour in the fields, they were being bent out of all 
feminine grace and suppleness. As free women they were 
not secure from the lust of the Roman invaders, and slav- 
ery was for them little else than concubinage. They 
rallied, therefore, to the movement of liberation set on 
foot by The Carpenter. Much of the money that 
financed his career came from them; we read in the cru- 
cifixion narrative: "Many women were there, which 
followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him." 

Pilate's wife is now added to the number of the 
women who found themselves interested in this leader. 
Perhaps she had not seen him but had merely heard of 
him; for the farne of his daring deeds the past week had 


spread. We read, after the state entry: "When he was 
come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying. 
Who is this? And the multitude said. This is Jesus, 
the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." All circles in 
Jerusalem were twittering of him. 

Anyhow, the dream has made her superstitious. It ap- 
pears further that she is of a more or less assertative tem- 
perament — in fact, that she often governs the governor. 
For she speaks her mind now to Pilate with immediacy 
and a measure of emphasis: "His wife sent unto 
him, saying. Have thou nothing to do with that 
just man." And Pilate proceeds to obey. Confronted 
by the Temple set, he tries in squirmy fashion to 
dodge the issue. At last he finds it easier to kill Jesus 
than to obey his wife. But he realizes that an un- 
comfortable half -hour is awaiting him in the house as 
soon as she gets the news. Hence the theatrical 
hand-washing. We are unable to detect in that 
ceremonial any sudden conversion to sentiments of 
justice and humanity on the part of this cynical 
Roman, waist-deep in human blood, a liar and a 
trickster throughout. This hand-washing ritual was 
itself a lie; for he avowed the while, "I am innocent of 
the blood of this just person." Pilate, Pilate! just a 
few minutes before, you stated to Jesus: "I have power 
to crucify thee, and have power to release thee." Not 
thus, Pilate, will you find answer to that question of yours, 
"What is truth?" 

No. That basin of water washes not the blood of the 
Galilean from the hands of the Roman Empire, red with 
world-wide spoliation. It was Rome that put Jesus to 


death. The Jewish method of capital punishment was 
by stoning. The assassination of The Carpenter, a deed 
that has sent a thrill of horror through the heart of hu- 
manity ever since, was perpetrated by Rome and by 
a handful of Romanized renegades among the Jewish 
privileged class. The hand-washing scene was but 
Pilate *s spectacular — and one likes to believe in- 
effectual — attempt to restore peace in his family. 

On the way from the Praetorian to the place of cruci- 
fixion at the gates of the city, Jesus was unable to sus- 
tain the weight of the cross. He does not seem to have 
been of rugged physical proportions. True, in the pres- 
ent case he had been weakened by the sleepless night 
through which he had just passed and by the scourgings. 
Nevertheless a man of robust frame could have with- 
stood that ordeal and still have endured the load as far 
as the city gates : for prisoners were not required to carry 
the entire cross, but only the transverse piece, the upright 
being already in the ground. A further fact indicative 
of a not stalwart strength is that he died so soon. It was 
not unusual for victims to hang on the nails for days, until 
they died of starvation or were torn to death by wild 
beasts. Jesus died in a few hours. The home of penury 
in which he had been born, with its wearing toil begun 
too early, its limited and uncertain food supplies, and the 
harassments to which a fine-grained workingman was sub- 
mitted by the absolutism which was upon the people, 
conspired not to the making of a sleek and happy animal. 
The Carpenter did not make his impress upon history 
through any advantages of physique, but through a mas- 
ter intellect, coupled with a master heart and will. In 


this connection we think also of Julius Csesar, that tall, 
slim form, his high-pitched voice rising into shrillness in 
public speech; not marked for robustious health; fight- 
ing fever; prematurely bald; overtaken in middle life 
with nerve breakdown. And we are reminded anew 
that one need not be a great animal before one can do a 
great work. 

There was a ghastly fittingness in the mode of death 
which was meted out to Jesus. Crucifixion was character- 
istically Roman. It was the method by which those lords 
of the earth put their slaves to death. So common was it 
becoming, because of the rapid increase in the number of 
slaves and because of the waxing severity of their treat- 
ment, that the cross may almost be said to have been the 
badge of the Roman Empire — the sign and symbol of the 
slavery by means of which and for the perpetuation of 
which that empire existed. When the slave insurrection 
under Spartacus was finally quelled, six thousand crosses 
along the road sides, with a slave spiked to each, was 
Rome's way of memorializing her victory. For work- 
men to join an insurrection, meant always a risk of 
crucifixion. Jesus with entire candour pointed this out 
to those who thought to enlist under him. He de- 
manded of every recruit a willingness to be crucified: 
"If any man will come after me, let him take up his 
cross. " 

Attached to the slave stable on every private estate 
was a cross or two, as part of the regular equipment of 
the tool shed. It was natural that the slave master 
should have chosen this method of execution. Because 
in it the victim's cup of degradation was filled full. 


Humiliation is the principle on which slave masters operate 
everywhere; and particularly was this true in the Roman 
Empire where the slaves were of the same colour as the 
masters, often knew more than those masters, and 
therefore must needs be cowed to an utter degree. As 
anything that aroused self-esteem in the slave was in 
highest measure dangerous to the master; so, contrariwise, 
anything that degraded the slave was serviceable. For 
the idea underlying the Roman system was that only 
the owner was a man; his slaves were "articulate instru- 
ments," quite sub-human. It was important, therefore, 
that a consciousness of his sub-human state should be 
dinned into the slave night and day. For until the last 
spark of self -reverence had been quenched within him, he 
would cause his owner nightmare fears of insurrection. 

Hence the use of the cross, because it was found an 
excellently dehumanizing instrument. It combined in 
rare degree most of the elements of human debasement. 
The victim's body was exposed. He was lifted up into 
public gaze. His hands nailed outstretched and with 
spikes through his feet also, he was an emblem of the 
helplessness which the owner constantly sought to press 
home on his slaves. Best of all, the spectacle often lasted 
through several days, and thus would impress its teaching 
on a considerable number of passers-by; for a public 
place was ordinarily chosen for the crucifixion, such as 
the gate of a city or a much-travelled road side, in order 
that the masses might be impressed by the object lesson 
aiid be duly intimidated. So valuable indeed was this 
intimidation that an owner could aflPord to crucify a 
slave now and then, for no other purpose than to keep 


the rest of his "agricultural implements" in a proper 
state of terrorism. In Roman chronicles we read of 
slaves being crucified for minor offences, such as the acci- 
dental breaking of a dish, and we exclaim against the 
owner's short-sightedness in permitting passion to cause 
him the loss of valuable human property. But it was 
not so short-sighted as it might seem. A crucifixion 
every so often was good policy on the part of a large 
slave owner, for it supplied the element of intimidation 
which was essential to an industrialism based on slavery, 
and the expense of which intimidation was figured in as 
a fixed item in the cost. 

To an industrialism based thus on human degrada- 
tion, The Carpenter with his teachment of self-respect had 
been a fatal enemy. He was indeed "perverting the 
nation" against the Romans and the system for which the 
Romans stood. His inoculation of the working class with 
the germs of inalienable divinity was making it 
highly inconvenient for the Romans and their minions 
in the Jerusalemite set to use the common people for 
revenue only. Therefore as a means of preventing any 
further spread of the poison and of neutralizing the 
amount of it that he had injected into the people's veins, 
his death by crucifixion. He had spoken of himself as 
an impersonation of the proletariat. Therefore in his 
degradation by means of the cross, that proletariat could 
see themselves degraded and reduced to their proper 
sphere once more. 

To this indictment of the privileged class of that day 
one or two exemptions must be made. We have seen 
that in some of the "elders," patriotism and the idea of 


human rights had not entirely decayed. Chief among 
these was Joseph of Arimathea. A man of wealth, he 
had divested himself of the prejudices of his set. Further- 
more he had courage in rare degree, for we read that he 
was " a counsellor; and the same had not consented to the 
counsel and deed of them." Though profiting personally 
by the Roman occupancy of Palestine, since it made his 
own revenues more secure, he refused to be warped 
thereby from straight thinking. We read of him that he 
"also himself waited for the kingdom of God." That 
kingdom, as we have seen, meant the universal reign of 
justice, and carried with it as one of its primary impHca- 
tions the off -throw of Roman rule and the return of sover- 
eignty to the people. Thus though a man of riches he 
was also a man of ideals — he was "rich toward God." 
He had kept his money in its proper place as "means," 
not an end in itself. Therefore he had not lost self-respect; 
he had kept his property the junior member of the 
firm, with himself as the senior and dominating 

This Joseph, by his inheritance and training as a mem- 
ber of the ruling oligarchy, would naturally have tended 
toward conservatism. It is noteworthy, therefore, 
that he boldly aligned himself with the Insurgent from 
Galilee. This was due not to a forsaking of those con- 
servative ideals, but to a deeper insight as to the route 
by which those ideals were to be attained. He ghmpsed 
in the Galilean a conservatism by the side of which the 
temporizing and terrorizing tactics of his associates were 
sheer anarchy. With civilizations as with snakes, 
those that cannot shed their skins die. Jesus announced 


at the start-ofiF, "I have not come to destroy.*' He 
thought of his work throughout as that of a construction- 
ist. Society 's safety was his aim. To this end his name, 
"Preserver," had been given him by his mother: "Thou 
shalt call his name * Jesus'; for he shall 'save' his people." 
His vehemency against the exploiter class was because 
he perceived them to be destructionists. A civilization 
founded upon property rights is built upon the sands, 
and will not stand the backwash when the rains set in. 
This counsellor Joseph believed that Jesus was right, 
and that only a civilization founded upon human rights, 
with property as a subordinate, an underling, can per- 
manently endure. Therefore he was willing to give 
The Carpenter a chance to make alterations in the edifice, 
in order to give it a rock foundation. To be sure, altera- 
tions in the house one is living in is a time of tribulation. 
But he believed it better to suffer the temporary annoy- 
ance than to live in a building whose foundations were 
crumbling day by day. 

Men of means who throw themselves like this Arima- 
thean into movements of social renovation, declass them- 
selves and are cast out by their set as traitors. But 
their justification does not tarry. A few years after this, 
and Joseph the Counsellor was able to point his short- 
sighted associates to Jerusalem in ruins, Palestine devas- 
tated, and the people — a hundred thousand of them — 
deported into slavery; and he could remind them of the 
words the slaughtered Carpenter had used, who "be- 
held the city and wept over it, saying. If thou hadst 
known, even thou, the things which belong to thy peace! 
but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days 


shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a 
trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep 
thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the 
ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not 
leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knew- 
est not the time of thy visitation." 


The murder of Jesus was the greatest crime in history. 
It removed the one person who was able to awaken 
the proletariat of the ancient world, and to guide it after 
being awakened. As it was, that proletariat, left leader- 
less, either lashed itself into a frenzied and suicidal fury, 
as in the Jewish War of Liberation three decades later; or 
else — and this was the fate of the masses in most of the 
countries — it despaired of any rescue from the hand of 
the oppressor, and slumped into the animalism that ever 
accompanies despair. No authentic monument marks 
the skull-shaped knob of ground outside Jerusalem where 
the murder was committed. But it needs no monument. 
The Orient as it is to-day, and as it threatens to remain 
for millenniums yet to come, is a tombstone sulEciently 
dismal, recording the event. 

A ship master on the ^Egean about this time heard a 
cry from one of the coasts as he sailed by: "Pan is dead!*' 
It was the death cry of the ancient world — of its joy, its 
genius, its aspirations, the music of its laughter; zest and 
gladness gone. The modern mind has become wonted 
to the notion of the Orient as an inclement and wilder- 
ness spot on the face of nature. The unclad hills, the 
dry valleys becoming torrential in the rainy season, the 



impoverished soil, a shiftlessness and despair upon the 
people, mark a region that seems to have been cursed 
from the beginning — a land never meant for habitation. 
But that country was not ever thus. As Polonius would 
say, "this effect defective comes by cause." Time was 
when those eastern coasts of the Mediterranean knew 
joy and fertility. The present devastations were once 
thickly peopled; the population now is but a fourth part 
of what it was before the Romans came. There were 
great cedars on Lebanon and fir trees along the slopes of 
Gilead. Normally the flora of Palestine is of surpassing 
wealth, including three thousand species, from the Alpine 
heights of Carmel to the tropical heats of the Jordan 
Valley. In the time of which we speak, that flora was in 
evidence. There were roses in Sharon, and the lily in 
a thousand valleys. Music was heard on the terraced 
hills at night, when the keepers of the vineyards were 
resting. The oak trees of Bashan sheltered flocks. The 
apple, the pomegranate, vines with tender grapes, the 
mandrake, and all manner of pleasant fruits gave forth 
odour from the sun-filled valley. The roe and the young 
hart leaped on the mountains of Bether. Copious was 
the outflow from the horn of plenty. Galilee's lake 
teemed with fish, and the curing of it was a prosperous 
industry on its southern shore. There was life, life in full 
measure, life heaped up, pressed together, running over. 
Genius was awake. With a lyric grace, psalms sung 
themselves spontaneously from out the life of the 
people, so that the world has been resinging them ever 
since. Seers in the valley of vision peered deep into the 
soul of things, and their peerings have sustained the 

BAD FRroAY 191 

heart of man from that day to this. The ^gean was 
dotted with sails. On many an isle of Greece, burning 
Sapphos loved and sang. Pan with his shepherd's flute 
made the groves merry with melody; white-robed maidens 
framed processionals to the temple; and all the people 
joined in the chorals. Religion was joy. 

It was a time of the flourishing of the arts. Freedom 
was in the air; therefore a creative spirit kindled in the 
heart. The vases, pots, and hangings which we guard 
to-day in museums, were the household crockery and 
articles of common use in this former age, before slavery's 
cramping grip had made man's right hand forget its cun- 
ning. The East was the home of elegance and the arts 
of life. Worm-eaten carvings, pieces of rough pottery, 
scraps of figured cloth, which to-day we look at in glass 
cases, are the wreckage from the ordinary industrialism 
of that time. The beauty of which these are fragments 
surrounded then the whole of life. Not without cause 
has been the nostalgia of man's spirit ever since for its 
homeland under Eastern skies. That East was the seat 
of a rich and advanced civilization. They had indus- 
trial processes which are the despair of artisans to-day. 
Damascus blades of raw steel brought from India were of 
wondrous hues and beauty. They were tempered so that 
one could double and redouble them, after which they 
would spring back to a straight line. Several of the finest 
dyes and pigments ever possessed by the world are now 
lost. There is even a hint that they possessed the 
secret of malleable glass, so that a goblet which was 
dented by a fall to the floor was straightened back with 
a hammer. There were mosaic workers, sculptors, en- 


gravers of gems, workers of artistic pottery and metal. 
The noise of the loom was heard, the caldron of the dyers 
boiled merrily. Handicraftsmen wove their vision of 
the world into their art products — rich hangings, cups 
of onyx and myrrh, preciously wrought vases. It was 
the age of the arts and crafts. 

Oppression arose, seeking to use people as tools and not 
as an end in themselves. Whereupon the gladness took 
fright; creative art caught chill and sickened. For art 
is the expression of a man's joy in his work. Slave labour 
never yet produced art, and never will. The people 
rallied against these native despotisms and were in a fair 
way to regain the ancient freedom. Then Rome came, 
Rome the blighter. Rome tied together the local op- 
pressions into a world-wide cohesion, and unitedly they 
intimidated the earth. Thereupon there was no more 
spirit in the people. They became afraid for the terror 
that flew by day, and which like a pestilence walked upon 
them in darkness. The destruction wasted them at 
noonday; for a thousand fell before the invader, and ten 
thousand at his right hand. The rule of the few, by the 
few, and for the few, took the place of joy and privilege 
for the many. Therefore that cry, "Pan is dead." 
Pan represented liberty and joy, and the arts which spring 
from liberty and joy. With its passing passed beauty 
also; for art and despotism are contradictories. Under 
the rule of the unimaginative Roman, joy and its 
attendant creativeness were starved out of the sub- 
jugated many, and fattened out of the too favoured 
few. There settled down upon the Orient a sense of 
the bankruptcy of life, the breakdown of ideals. 


Now, two thousand years after, the desolation is still 

The Carpenter of Nazareth saw in his day the fateful 
tendencies coming to a head, and he set himself against 
them. He was the spirit of the East, the spirit of free- 
dom, the spirit of fellowship, lifting its cry against the 
hard materiality that with crushing military might was 
advancing from out the West. He stood for industrial 
liberation, because he was a hand worker and a lover of 
beauty. Economic facts have a way of translating them- 
selves into moral and artistic magnitudes. Jesus was 
supremely the artist nature. Not merely that he had a 
poet's command over the resources of language, and a 
rarely rhythmic utterance. His whole temper was set 
to beauty. Rich blooded, an incomparable wealth of 
emotion, aUve in every pore, with a sure dexterity and a 
joyous reaction to the thousand stimuli of sense, his was 
the most truly artist nature the Jewish race has pro- 
duced. He was the flowering of the genius of the teeming, 
the creative East. His stories, the casual inventions of 
the moment, furnish by-words to the literature of all 
time — in every touch the magic of the artist. This poet 
and handicraftsman of Nazareth set himself against Rome's 
industrialism based on slavery, because he knew that 
only in freedom can worth-while work be wrought and 
worth-while lives be lived. But Rome triumphed. With 
the East, beauty perished from the earth. Golgotha set back 
the clock of time an incalculable distance. Only mounds 
now to tell where cities sank and died away. The traveller 
to-day passes over stretches of gray desert. The sites 
of unremembered cities are now dunes — drifting sand. 


There is something in the Golgotha scene, however, 
which bereaves it of its palsying power. And this was 
the determination, the unsurrendered will of the Leader 
even as he hung, dying. The liberation movement is 
to his thought elemental, invincible; so that it imparts 
something of its own immortality to whoso identify 
themselves with it. He sees it with prophetic eye as it 
rounds and swells into the future, a very river of life across 
the centuries, and bearing on its ample bosom all who 
entrust themselves unto it. Never for a moment does 
Jesus think of himself as passing out of existence. He and 
his Cause are one, and both are indestructible. "Lo, 
I am with you alway, even to the end of the world," 
is his word at this time to his disciples. And he even 
goes into some detail in instructing them what to do when 
they shall have recovered from the shock of his execution 
as a slave. He tells them to go back to Galilee for a so- 
journ, as that is a friendlier sky under which they may 
recruit their zeal; he is fearful of the effect upon them of 
a too long stay in capitalistic Jerusalem. 

The abandon with which, even in the moments of dy- 
ing, he loses himself in thoughtfulness for the Cause, is 
without parallel in the annals of heroism. While he was 
being dragged through the streets, "there followed him 
a great company of people, and of women, which also 
bewailed and lamented him." But self-pity was not in 
his make-up. His thoughts are not on what is being done 
to him, but on the mischief that is being done thereby 
to the people: "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for 
me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For 
behold the days are coming in the which they shall say. 


* Blessed are the barren and the wombs which never bare, 
and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they 
begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills. 
Cover us.'" And he takes this occasion to remind them 
that the empire, that systematic assault on the liberties 
of the people, is as yet only in its beginning. Like a piece 
of wood not yet seasoned, what will be its doings when it 
shall have come to its perfect work: "If they do these 
things in the green tree, what shall be done in the 

Upon the cross he is not permitted to forget the Roman 
Empire — the unshamed and organized plunder for 
which it stands. One of the sights which greet his eyes, 
before the blur and the mist set in, is a group of Roman 
soldiers stealing his clothes. Matthew naively states 
that they did this in order to fulfil scripture — "that it 
might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet." 
But the facts seem to be that they saw here a chance to 
annex some property without working for it, and the help- 
lessness of the owner at that particular moment so far 
from deterring them was but an added reason why the 
annexing should take place. Rome plays her part to 
the last. 

And so does Jesus. It was a merciful custom among 
the Jews during a crucifixion to give to the victim a potion 
of medicated wine to deaden his sensibilities. The draught 
was provided by a society of charitable women in Jeru- 
salem. In the present instance this drink was refused — 
Jesus had work to do. We read: "Now there stood by 
the cross of Jesus his mother. " The son proceeds to make 
arrangement for her future abode, an arrangement which 


is to have a bearing on the progress of the Cause a few 
years from that date. 

It may surprise some readers to discover his mother 
present and enduring with something of stoutness the 
Golgotha scene. Mothers, particularly when their oflF- 
spring are concerned, are commonly supposed to be swayed 
by emotion and the maternal instinct. Here, however, 
we find his mother not only present, but closely present. 
For the narrative specifies that she was standing, "by 
the cross of Jesus," as opposed to the other two crosses 
in the immediate vicinity. It appears that Mary's set 
will and firmness of purpose, with an account of which our 
narrative opened, are nothing daunted by the event she 
now is witnessing. From the point of view of neigh- 
bours back in Nazareth, a scandal is overtaking the 
family. For the humiliation of a death by crucifixion is 
aggravated in this case by the association with two thieves. 
Mary, however, is uncowed, unterrified, unabashed. She 
takes a stand by the side of the cross, willingly partici- 
pating in any obloquy that may attach to that position. 
From that post we behold her looking the world calmly 
in the face. 

The physical sufferings which her son was enduring 
were not then what they would be to-day, reared as mod- 
erns are in the school of softness. The long reign of 
brutality was blunting the nerve terminals. The life of 
the poor in that age was one long crucifixion. Hardness 
their daily lot. Not only was their suffering an in- 
cident of the industrial system of the day. It was a part 
of the fundamental policy of that system, as tending 
to keep the masses down where they belonged. Rome's 


empire, based as it was on terrorism, oflBcially fa- 
voured the governor who repressed the people most 
effectually. They were sheep at the mercy of ravening 
wolves. The basic principle of the empire was that 
part of the people are eaters of the other part by divine 
right. Born in a public stable, brought up in a hut, eat- 
ing porridge from a common pot in the midst of the fam- 
ily circle (not always sure even of porridge), sleeping at 
night on a mat taken from a shelf by the wall and laid 
on the dirt floor, going out day by day to sell his labour 
under conditions galling to a high-spirited workman — 
neither a man brought up thus, nor his mother, would 
be tenderlings. They had become accustomed to the 
sight of blood. Moreover, the member of the family 
now picked for slaughter was in some respects better off 
than those left behind. For slavery was creeping upon 
the population so rapidly, that a fate worse than death 
was perhaps in store for the living. 

Another disciple is standing by — John. Jesus nods 
toward him with his head — his hands are spiked to the 
beam — and says to his mother, " woman, behold thy 
son," the term "woman" being the translation of a word 
of kindly and customary address. And, bowing to the 
other, "behold thy mother." The narrative states 
that, "from that hour that disciple took her unto his 
own home. " We are compelled to infer that Jesus had 
a purpose in bringing these two together. The move 
could hardly have been prompted by distrust of his 
brothers, of either their willingness or ability to provide 
a home for their mother. That were a reflection 
upon those brothers which is not justified by the data 


that has come down to us. For in the opening scene 
in The Acts, we find the brothers of Jesus with the disciple 
band. The move seems rather to have been an adoption 
of John into the family in order to confirm him in the 
cause of insurgency. Until then, John has not stood forth 
as an irreconcilable. He had been on good terms — 
perilously good terms — with the Caiaphas crowd. When 
Jesus was captured in the olive grove and taken before 
the council, John's influence at court gave him an entree 
thither. For we read: "That disciple was known unto 
the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace 
of the high priest." Add to this personal connection 
with the aristocracy, a temperament natively amiable, 
and we have all the factors for another apostasy, 
once the magnetism of the master's presence is re- 
moved. But with Mary as his adopted mother, the 
danger disappears. No more seeking of favour at 
the hands of those in charge of the Caiaphas palace. 
The established class, which is "gorgeously apparelled and 
lives delicately, " invades the stoutest hearts. But it will 
no longer invade John's heart. An uncompromiser is to be 
close to him from now on. We have seen Mary's hand 
in the shaping of three other out-and-outers. To those 
three is now to be added a fourth. How she discharged 
the obligation here laid upon her, we shall see later. 

And so Jesus, "knowing that all things were now ac- 
complished, " a builder and a constructionist to the end, 
yielded up the ghost. 

The effect of this immortal projection of himself into 
his Cause was not long in showing itself. The immediate 
result upon his disciples of this crucifixion of their 


master was numbness. They were utterly dispirited: 
"We trusted that it had been he which should have re- 
deemed Israel." But the numbness disappears. A 
return to life and hope takes place. Before long, 
as though urged by an unseen Leader, the march 
that had come so suddenly to a stop sets in again with 
the tread of a conqueror. Concert now takes the 
place of that disorganized condition. They secure 
a headquarters in Jerusalem itself. There they assem- 
ble themselves. Among them in these gatherings was 
"Mary the mother of Jesus." Once again we are 
reminded of Cornelia, mother of the Grachii, who, 
after beholding her two sons killed for advocating the 
rights of the people, continues to carry on the work; 
Corenelia, summoning men of affairs to her villa near 
Misenum incites them to insurrection and sends them 
forth in the cause to which her sons had paid the last 
full measure of devotion. 

Let sceptics strive to explain it away as they will, 
the historical fact is that Jesus dead was more alive 
than Jesus living. There was a something which the 
nails and the spear could not reach. And now mightily 
it energizes. Upon the disciples, previously despair- 
ing, a strange work is wrought. A very fanaticism 
of courage has come upon them. When the rulers 
and elders and scribes "saw the boldness of Peter 
and John and perceived that they were unlearned 
and ignorant men, they took knowledge of them. So 
they let them go, because of the people. And being 
let go, they went to their own company, and reported 
all that the chief priests and elders had said unto 


them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their 
voice and said, Now Lord, behold their threatenings, 
and grant unto thy servants that with all boldness they 
may speak thy word." "And they, continuing daily 
with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from 
house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and 
singleness of heart, praising God and having favour with 
all the people. ** 

"Favour with all the people!" Significant, that. It 
seems that Jesus was so popular a hero, that even his 
death as a slave at the hands of the Romans had not 
shaken that popularity. If anything, it increased it. 
His crucifixion was attended with a considerable disturb- 
ance in Jerusalem. So considerable in fact that it is 
described in terms of an earthquake — the veil of the 
Temple rent in two, "and there was a darkness over all 
the earth, and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 
and the graves were opened. " Beneath the extravagance 
of the oriental imagery, heightened in the present case 
by the repetition of the story from mouth to mouth for a 
score and ten years before it was reduced to writing, 
we can detect a substratum of truth. That a distur- 
bance of serious proportions took place is not only possible 
but extremely credible. It was a social earthquake. The 
city as we have seen was thronged with an inflammable 
multitude of pilgrims, hot in their anger against the 
Romans and the Romanized local oligarchy, and ardently 
attached to the Carpenter from Galilee who had so boldly 
and so successfully challenged these oppressors of the 
people. We read that at this time, "there were dwel- 
ling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation 


under heaven. " They had been asleep at the time Jesus 
was seized. In that Gethsemane capture, "all the dis- 
ciples forsook him and fled." As has been hinted, this 
need not necessarily imply cowardice. In the light of 
the entire narrative, both before and after, their escape 
seems rather to have been prompted by a right motive; 
namely, to run into the city and rally the people to the 
defence of their hero. Had the crucifixion been delayed 
a few hours longer, they would probably have accom- 
plished their end. But he was led away to death early 
that morning — so expeditiously in fact and with.' such 
a disregard of the established procedure, that the thing 
was more a legalized lynching than an execution. A 
wailing crowd had followed the march to the Calvary 
spot; but the mob, left leaderless, was as yet too few in 
numbers and too unorganized to attempt a rescue from 
the Roman cohort. By afternoon, however, the people 
as a whole would have recovered from their heavy sleep 
of the night before, and would have received the news of 
the crafty stratagem which the Temple clique, in con- 
junction with their co-partners, the Romans, had per- 
petrated. It was too late then to tear their hero down 
from the cross alive, but the infuriated populace could 
vent their feelings on the Temple oligarchy; and this is 
what they seem to have done. Roman guards would after 
a while quell the uprising. But not until the great veil 
which hung before the court of the Temple had been 
torn asunder in the riot, and the city shaken from end 
to end. 

This manifestation of the popular favour wherewith 
The Carpenter was regarded, continued and grew amaz- 


ingly. The multitude aligned themselves with his disciples 
readily and in large numbers. His enemies having thrown 
off concealment, his adherents also come out into the open. 
His followers first "together were about a hundred and 
twenty." In one day it jumps to "three thousand 
souls." A short time more, and "the number of the 
men was about five thousand." Again we read of "the 
multitude of them that believed"; and they "were of 
one heart and of one soul." Despite all that the oli- 
garchy can do, the movement has obtained a foothold 
in Jerusalem itself, where the enemy had thought them- 
selves secure against intrusion. The disciples even gain 
a following from the outlying districts, so rapidly does 
the popularity of the liberation movement spread: 
"The people magnified them," and "there came also 
a multitude out of the cities round about." And a 
short time after this we overhear some one saying, of 
the adherents of The Carpenter: "Thou seest how many 
thousands of Jews which believe. " 

The oligarchy is in panic. "Then went the captain 
with the officers, and brought them without violence, 
for they feared the people, lest they should have been 
stoned. And when they had brought them, the high 
priest asked them saying. Did not we straitly command 
you that ye should not teach in this name? And behold, 
ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend 
to bring this man's blood upon us. " But the propagan- 
dists "departed from the presence of the council, and 
daily in the Temple and in every house they ceased not 
to teach and to preach. " 

The oligarchy is "cut to the heart"; for this procla- 


mation to the multitudes, of the coming of a kingdom of 
self-respect, a new order of society in which industrial- 
ism shall be glad and free because the world's workers 
shall be the world's owners, is hurting "vested interests. " 
Therefore it tries persecution once more, and "entering 
into every house, and haling men and women, com- 
mitted them to prison " — efforts to stamp out the fire 
which do but scatter the brands and spread the inflam- 
matory work. It puts Stephen, one of the ringleaders, 
to death by stoning. Whereupon, "they which were 
scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about 
Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and An- 
tioch, preaching the word. " 

One of the disciples, Philip, takes a decisive step. He 
transgresses the boundary between Jew and non-Jew. 
He goes to the city of Samaria, which is outside the pale 
of Judaism — had not The Carpenter expressly mentioned 
a "certain Samaritan" in eulogy? — and proclaims the 
"good news " there. His valorous example is contagious. 
Others of the fire-brand group went down there also 
and "preached the good news in many villages of the 
Samaritans. " Worth noting, this. For if this liberation 
movement once reaches a point where it forgets Jewish 
lines and breaks loose among the proletariat of all coun- 
tries, it will give Rome, inclined already to bad dreams 
because gorged with feeding, a nightmare that will be a 
nightmare indeed. 


The new movement was known to its adherents as 
"The Way." This thing that was come into the 
world through The Carpenter was not a new phil- 
osophy or a new church or a new theology or a new re- 
ligion. It was a new " Way. " The purpose for which all 
philosophies and churches and theologies and religions 
exist, is to awaken people. In the person of the Galilean 
there was introduced into human society a leader who 
was proving universally an awakener. "He stirreth 
up the people, " was the charge which the rulers brought 
against him. And it was a true charge. The proclama- 
tion of his "good news," namely, "God on the side of 
the people, " stirred up the lower orders in a fashion that 
was new and wondrous, quickening the flow of their 
spirits and fructifying sterile natures. This awakened 
life then was "The Way" which we read of in The Acts. 
To be awake was a new way, a new state of affairs, for 
the common people. Previously they had been living 
a twilight existence, not complete darkness, and very 
far from complete light. For the proletariat to get out 
of that twilight state into broad noon, came upon the 
world with all the force of a discovery. 

This new "Way" is seen to carry with it moral pow«r» 



so that character is transformed. It carries with it 
healing power, so that sickness collapses before it. It 
carries the power of reproducing itself, each awakened 
spirit being pricked on to awaken another; so that a prop- 
agandist zeal is manifest. It carries with it self-respect, 
which now narrowly interrogates some of the institutions 
of the day. The first eight chapters of the book of The 
Acts record the greatest liberation of human energies 
the world has seen. There is a swing and a sweep to 
the language, telling of elemental forces at work. On- 
lookers " were all amazed and were in doubt, saying one 
to another, What meaneth this.^'* Peter sought to 
explain it to them, and was not far wrong: "Ye men 
of Judea, these are not drunken. This is that which was 
spoken by the prophet: *And it shall come to pass in the 
last days, saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all 
flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 
and your young men shall see visions, and your old men 
shall dream dreams.* " And the dream they dreamed was, 
as we have seen, the dream of The Kingdom, that new 
and democratic order of society for whose coming the 
Galilean had lived and died, a society of happy-hearted 
workers, the industrial commonwealth of heaven. 

However pleasant this dreaming of dreams might be 
for the lower orders, it was nothing less than nightmare 
for the master class. This "Way," implying as it did 
the awakenment of the masses, was a highly inconvenient 
thing to be loose in a world whose corner-stone was slavery. 
For slavery can not abide daylight, wide-awakeness. 
It loveth sleep and the dark, because its deeds are evil. 
Slavery and social sleep are twin brothers. Social sleep 


brings on slavery; and slavery drugs people into a still 
deeper sleep. Between slavery and social arousement 
is a blood-feud irreconcilable. 

Therefore the privileged class, living sumptuously 
by means of its exploitation of the workers, perse- 
cuted this "Way" unto the death. Jesus was an alarm- 
clock in the bedroom, and was hated with a murderous 
hate by the pillagers, because in awakening the sleeper 
he spoiled their trade. Their attempt to suppress 
him and his followers after him, constitutes much 
of the history of the next two hundred years. As we 
have seen, their efforts to crush "The Way" in Palestine 
had as a result that "they that were scattered abroad 
went everywhere preaching the word." Thereupon the 
Roman Empire took up the task. The persecution at 
the hands of the Jerusalem oligarchy was a compar- 
atively mild affair. But when Rome, past-master in 
the art of repression, set its hand to the task, it was the 
signal for a saturnalia of blood-lettings and fury — a 
savagery that is unmatched in human annals. 

That the Roman Empire set its ponderous machinery 
at work, officially and with a dogged persistence for over 
a century, to destroy "The Way" of The Carpenter and 
his followers, is highly significant. Because Rome cared 
not at all how many religions there were in her empire. 
If anything, her attitude toward them was one of en- 
couragement; they kept the mind of the masses occupied. 
Polybius naively states that in Rome religion was "used 
as a check on the people." There were a hundred 
religions in the Roman Empire, and a hundred more could 


have been added without interference from the imperial 
authorities. Her pantheon was crowded with heteroge- 
neous gods; there was a niche for every kind, from Osiris 
of Egypt to the Druids of the cruel North. Her governors 
in the provinces were under orders to suffer the people 
to have all the "religion" they wished. Gallio is a good 
type. As long as the disputes brought before him seemed 
a mere matter of "religion, " he looked on with an amused 
or bored air, for Rome " cared for none of these things. " 

By "religion," however, Rome meant sects and doc- 
trines and liturgies — anything that tended to take the 
mind off from every-day affairs, either in ascetic renun- 
ciation or in other-worldly absorption. The Fellowship 
of The Carpenter, however, came not under this head. 
There was in it a militant democratism which was un- 
seemly and unheard-of in a "religion." The words of 
The Carpenter had too many "hard sayings" against 
organized privilege. He had been put to death charged 
with enmity against Caesar; and that charge was found, 
in the attitude of his followers, to have been well foimded. 
Rome and Nazareth could not continue on the earth 
at the same time. There was an oppugnancy between 
them, deep-set and irrepressible. 

Other religions had been in large part the product of 
the priest or philosopher mind, and therefore were in the 
interests of the aristocratic class. This Galilean propa- 
ganda, however, had sprung from a carpenter. As such, 
it had taken its rise in a practical need, had set before itself 
a practical goal, and was seeking that goal by practical 
measures. It knew that the life of man is rooted and 
grounded in economics. However high his rhapsodizings 


and theorizings, in three quarters of his being, man 
is an earth animal. And the conditions of his earth 
life shape his soul life. What the soil is to the plant, 
economics is to the people who grow up in it. "K the 
foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" 
Let pietists pietize as they may, material status has a 
direct reaction on mind and character. The Carpenter 
had no other notion of spirituality than the earth life 
exalted and transfigured. A spirituality cut loose from 
the world and adrift through infinite ether was to him a 
vaporous and sickly thing. 

This is why the sabbath day by itself found in him 
so slighting a response. The other religions in the Roman 
Empire were essentially sabbath day religions. Phar- 
isaism was one of these. Therefore the Pharisees got 
along amicably with the Romans. It was quite the ar- 
rangement Rome desired — she to control the six days 
and religion the seventh day. If Jesus had been con- 
tent to proclaim that kind of a religion also, he would 
have saved himself a bitter Friday afternoon atop a skull- 
shaped hill near the Jerusalem gate, and hundreds of his 
followers a similar fate in every nook of the empire. An 
artisan, however, gets to attach a deal of importance to 
the work-days of the week. It is in them that he lives 
his real life and works his real work. The seventh day! 
let priests capitalize and accentuate that day as they 
will, it is to a workingman but an incident in his life, an 
interpolation — a mere comma on the page and not the 
words themselves wherewith his life is writing its annals. 
The Carpenter accordingly brushed the seventh day 
aside as of comparatively small account, and stressed 


with an infinite stressment the six days in each week. He 
introduced thereby not a church-worship nor a desert- 
worship, but a work- worship. A vicious economic 
system can in six days destroy more soul than one seventh 
day, or seventy times one seventh day, can rebuild. Those 
six days out of each week, however, was the part that 
Rome also desired to control. She claimed ownership 
over the industrial life of the people, because industry 
creates wealth; and Rome coveted wealth. "Let me 
control a man's work, and I care not who controls his 
worship," was her principle. But that was with literal 
exactness the principle also of The Carpenter. Hence 
the head-on collision. 

It is contended by the churchly school of historians 
that Rome's persecution of the christians was due to 
her demand of emperor-worship, a demand which the 
christians out of religious loyalty had to refuse. But 
this leaves the question still unanswered. If The Car- 
penter permitted in his followers a duality of allegiance, 
rendering unto the secular power obedience in secular 
things, and unto God obedience in spiritual things, there 
could not have been any conflict of loyalties. The formal 
offering of incense to the emperor was a civic rite — was 
so understood by everybody. It was quite compatible 
with worship of one's private and personal gods. Mil- 
lions of religionists paid the civic rite to the empire, and 
at the same time maintained their own sects and rites 
and religions. Rome's national cult had only to do 
with the material side of life — as a matter of fact she 
doubted in her heart of hearts that there was any other 
side. The incense rite in question was in ordinary times 


an oath of political allegiance to the empire, and in periods 
of sedition it was a test whereby to ferret out political 
malcontents. It had no religious significance. Prin- 
cipal Inverach, of Aberdeen, states it flatly: "Csesar- 
worship was not considered to be opposed to the worship 
of the gods of th^ land." In the "Acta" of the six 
African martyrs, there has been brought to light the at- 
titude of Rome's magistrates in the matter of this rite. 
Says the proconsul Saturninus there: "We swear by the 
genius of our lord the emperor, and we pray for his 
safety. Ye must do the same likewise." Nothing sac- 
rilegious in that. The Roman Empire was directed by 
a coterie of shrewd financiers in the city of Rome; it was, 
as we have seen, their utter voidness of sentiment, re- 
ligious or otherwise, that made the empire possible. Their 
creed had two articles: slavery and the taxes. Given 
these, they yielded every other point. To suppose that 
they set to work to kill hundreds and thousands of their 
subjects on the mere ground of religious differences — and 
at a time, too, when they were in sore need of people to 
man the empire — is to misread the financier type of that 
day, or of any day. If "The Way" of The Carpenter 
had been an other-worldly cult, indifferent to economics 
with true pietistic indifference, there need have been no 
human torches to light up the Coliseum at night; for 
the civic rite of obedience to the emperor would then have 
been a negligible affair, a matter of no eternal impor- 
tance. In which case their deaths by the thousands were 
due to a misunderstanding — namely, that they saw 
in the emperor-rite an idolatrous squint which was not 
in it; a misunderstanding which an edict from Rome could 



— and would — have removed. So that those two cen- 
turies of martyrdom would then have to be attributed 
to a hideous mistake, a blunder by both parties. 

The fact remains that it was not due to a mistake. Such 
a supposition impeaches not alone the intelligence of the 
Romans, but brings a similar indictment against an army 
of martyrs, and against the head Martyr himself. For 
Jesus was crucified because he was regarded by the ruling 
oligarchy as an enemy of the existing order of society. 
And he was. His followers were put to death on the 
charge that they were "dangerous to social stability." 
And they were — as Rome understood " social sta- 
bility." They denied the legitimacy of a world-wide 
empire of property rights, an empire whose industrialism 
was based on slavery, whose social system degraded the 
many for the exaltation of a few, and whose government 
was irresponsible and enforced by military might. There- 
fore they refused participation in the civic rites wherein 
that empire sought to glorify and perpetuate itself. At 
festival seasons the doors of christian homes were 
unilluminated. They would not recognize the empire's 
administration of the law, registering their mute con- 
tempt when before her tribunals, after the fashion of their 
master. Drafted into the army, they gave an unwilling 
obedience and were perpetual inciters to mutiny. De- 
nying that philanthropy can palliate ills inflicted by 
injustice, they returned the tickets to the amphitheatre 
doled out to the populace by the million airic magnates. 
This "obstinatio" was proof to Pliny of their treasonable 
temper. But they went still further. To this sullen 
obstinacy of refusal to participate, they added an active 


propaganda against the existing order. They were 
firebrands loose among a proletariat that, because of the 
wrongs it was suffering, was higlily inflammable. They 
hoped and prayed and worked for "The Regeneration" 
— the new earth wherein they could exult: "The extor- 
tioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are 
consumed out of the land. " 

It was for these reasons that Rome, notorious for her 
toleration of all other religions, made an exception in the 
case of this "dangerous superstition," founded by a 
carpenter. She made his followers to know that a wolf 
has fangs. They "had trial of cruel mockings and 
scourgings, yea moreover of bonds and imprisonment; 
they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, 
were slain with the sword. " The butchery of them was 
made to do a double service — it served up a Roman 
holiday. In the amphitheatre the gladiatorial combats 
come first on the day's programme, the procession march- 
ing in and around the sanded enclosure and stopping be- 
fore the emperor's box with an, "Ave Caesar, imperator, 
morituri te salutant." The fightings finished, attendants 
sprinkle sand on the slippery blood patches. Silver 
cages are rolled in, and lions debouch, hungry with a two- 
weeks' hunger. Another gate opens, and a band of 
christians are driven in, men and mothers, young men 
and maidens. They app>ear not a band of weaklings, 
a-crouch with fear. To join the cult of The Carpenter 
in those days was to take one's life in one's hands. Weak- 
lings risk not life for a Cause. Weaklings prefer death 
in slavery; strong men and women prefer death in com- 
bat against slavery. The lions perceive them. The 



carnage is quite delectable, both to the beasts on thft 
sanded floor and to the beasts on the seats mounting in 
tiers to the sky line. After a space the blood-thirst is 
slaked. The lions are re-caged. The spectators go to 
their homes to relate the day's sport: and the moonlight 
streaming down into the roofless Coliseum reveals 
mangled forms on the sand, followers of him who had also 
met death at the hands of the Romans for "stirring up the 
people. " 

The charge that christians set fire to Rome and caused 
the conflagration which in Nero's time destroyed the 
city, has been industriously denied by church historians. 
With the "Lamb-of-God" idea concerning the Galilean, 
the notion of wholesale incendiarism on the part of his 
earliest followers seems so preposterous that they have 
denied it off-hand — an indictment thus absurd could 
be quashed without the formality of a trial. However, if 
for nothing more than fidelity to historical fact, it is neces- 
sary to re-open the question and look into the evidence. 

The awfulness of acts of incendiarism is modern, and 
with reason. Constitutional government to-day makes 
the righting of a wrong in most cases possible without 
recourse to blood and violence. Wherefore a resort to the 
torch is properly abhorred. A violent cure is no cure; 
it is but a plaster on the outside, and reaches not to the 
seat of trouble. In a republic of universal suffrage, 
barricaded streets and nitro bombs do not help matters 
much. It is sagacity, therefore, even more than tender- 
ness of feeling, that has brought about on the part of 
modern reformers the substitution of ballots for bullets. 
But in Nero's day constitutional government was in 


abeyance. Force was the only possible protection against 
force. Where a tyrant is absolute, assassination is the 
one argument that can be used. Tyrannies have, by 
means of the dagger, been tempered into a semblance of 
decency. To repel wolves with moral suasion is not 
Christianity. the reader remember that one half 
of the early christians were slaves. .Let him remember 
further that their white skins constituted an aggravation 
of their misery over what African slaves suffered in ante- 
bellum days. A slave youth or maiden who took the 
fancy of the Roman owner had no power to retain virtue. 
The slave was a chattel, absolutely without rights. He 
could not marry. Under Roman law he was not regarded 
as a human being; he was an "articulate instrument." 
A married slave was given no redress if the master took 
his wife. His children, born for servitude, belonged 
first to the master whose riches they thus increased, or 
who got rid of them if he did not wish to support them. 
Said Prudentius of St. Agnes: 

This maiden to the public brothel they consign. 
Unless she bow before the heathen shrine. 

And TertuUian confirms the well-nigh unbelievable 
charge: "Recently, too, by condemning the christian 
maiden to the brothel (ad lenonem), instead of the lions 
(ad leonem), you acknowledge that to us the violation of 
chastity is more dreadful than any other form of punish- 
ment." And from another: "They order the maiden 
either to sacrifice or to be taken to the lupanar. " Says a 
historian of the empire: "The sum of all negro slavery 
is but a drop compared with the sufferings of the Roman 
slaves." Rome was the poisonous centre of a poisonous 



empire. K, therefore, the torch in the hands of the 
christians was the only resource left whereby to strike 
fear into the breast of a Nero and to mitigate the lot of 
the sixty million chattels who were "oppressed of the 
devil, " that torch is bereaved of its awfulness, and even 
becomes a lamp shining in a dark place. 

The writings of Tacitus constitute in the present case 
the documentary evidence. Examining that evidence, 
we find him expressly stating that christians "confessed 
the charge." True, it seems to have been Nero who 
brought the charge against these followers of The Car- 
penter, for there was a rumour that he himself had caused 
the conflagration. Nero's testimony, never notable for 
its veracity, would in itself have no weight in the present 
case. A motive for the act, however, is evidence that 
tells strongly with modern courts of inquiry. And in 
the matter of motive, Nero stands acquitted and the 
christians convicted. For the emperor had nothing to 
gain by the destruction of his own city, and actually put 
himself to considerable pains and expense to care for the 
thousands left homeless by the fire. Whereas the chris- 
tians had a motive. Rome was the arrogant capital of an 
empire that was crushing half of the world's population 
into moral and spiritual degradation. Until she was out of 
the way, or had been taught by terror to respect the rights 
of the proletariat, no betterment of the lot of the masses 
could be looked for; rather, there was an accelerating 
course into ever deeper deeps. 

This then is what Tacitus states: "Nero fastened the 
guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class 
hated for their abominations, called christians by th« 


populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, 
suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius 
at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate: 
and a most dangerous superstition, thus checked for a 
moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first 
source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hid- 
eous and shameful from every part of the world find their 
centre and become popular. Accordingly an arrest 
was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon 
their information, an immense multitude was convicted, 
not so much of the crime of firing the city as of hatred 
toward civilized (sic) society. Mockery of every sort 
was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of 
beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were 
nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burned, 
to serve as a nightly illumination when daylight had 
expired.'' Concerning which, it may be remarked 
parenthetically that if Rome was the pattern and form 
of "civilized society," it is necessary to infer that her 
"civilized" condition had not reached alteringly to her 
modes of inflicting capital punishment. 

Besides these words of Tacitus, there is New Testa- 
ment evidence also connecting the conflagration with 
the christians; so that those who see in that event nothing 
but abhorrence w^ill have to revise their canon of Scrip- 
ture. For it is admitted by modern scholars that the 
"Book of Revelation" is an outburst of joy when the 
news arrived of the burning of the city. However, so 
desperate a remedy as revision of the canon is not neces- 
sary. Men can be found to-day who are quite cool and 
sane — constructive members of society — who are pre- 


pared to validate and even to applaud a deed of 
violence, when necessary to prevent further violence. 
Rome's empire, based on terrorism, could be held in 
check only by terrorism. If therefore it should become 
necessary to rewrite our histories at this point and lay 
the burning of Rome directly at the door of the chris- 
tians, it would scandalize no one except those who count / 
the sheep-like quality the paragon of manly character. \ 


J • 

h' I 


It is fortunate that the light of Rome's conflagration 
reached as far as Patmos. For that blaze lighted up 
the heavens for John, and revealed to him things in 
those heavens until then hidden. 

Since the time we saw John, during the trial of Jesus, 
obtaining admission into the court room through his 
friendship with the high priest, a change has come over 
him. He has been living under the same roof with Mary 
the Mother, as her adopted son. A change in him set 
in almost immediately, because in The Acts he steps 
boldly to the forefront. ^ And now at last, in "The 
Revelation of St. John, " the influence of Mary upon him, 
and the teachings of the uncompromising Carpenter, 
have wrought their perfect work. For in this book we 
behold him as a stirrer-up of the populace, an economic 
come-outer. Lowell calls the Bible, "The most inflam- 
matory book that could be circulated among a servile 
population." If so, "Revelation" is a fitting close to 
it, a cap stone entirely harmonious with the rest of the 
column. In the books preceding it, the overthrow of 
the oppressor and the coming of the toiling masses 
into their own, are either urged or threatened or 
planned. Here, in John's book, that consummation is 
announced as having arrived; and annoimced, further- 



more, with a jubilancy of tone that lifts the language out 
of prose and almost into a strain of poetry. 

The two pivotal themes of "Revelation" are, the burn- 
ing of Rome and the coming of a new order of society. 
Rome is described under the terms, "Dragon," "Babylon" 
and "Scarlet Woman." In the time of Nero an in- 
flammatory publication attacking Rome by name would 
have been hunted out with so ferret-like a thoroughness 
that few copies would have circulated and none could 
have survived. It is to the literary device of calling the 
city by an allegorical name we owe it that we have the 
book to-day. The disguise, however, is thin. By 
clearing away the overgrowth of imagery which covers 
the page with a true oriental abundance, the meaning 
imderneath comes clear into view. Rome, sitting on her 
seven hills, is typed by "a great red dragon, having seven 
heads." John is at pains to nudge the reader, lest he 
should fail to catch the reference: "Here is the mind 
which hath wisdom: The seven heads are seven moun- 
tains." Again: "I stood upon the sand of the sea, 
and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven 
heads; and they worshipped the beast saying. Who 
is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with 
him? And it was given unto him to make war with the 
saints and to overcome them and power was given unto 
him over all kindreds and tongues and nations. If any 
man have an ear, let him hear. " 

A touch of gallantry appears in John's reference to 
Mary. Too often in ancient chronicles — not so notice- 
able in Jewish writings — the credit due to woman is 
minimized away. John includes in his book a tribute 


to Mary, and betrays by the extravagance of his language 
the uncommon influence which that woman exercised 
upon all who came within the sweep of her personality. 
In his description he refers to her as the crowning glory 
of the twelve tribes of Israel; and he heightens the literary 
effect by contrasting her with the beast, Rome, which 
thought that it had by means of the Golgotha event 
devoured her son. He writes: "There appeared a 
woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her 
feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars : and she 
being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to 
be delivered. And behold a great red dragon, having 
seven heads. And the dragon stood before the woman 
which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child 
as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a 
man child, and her child was caught up unto God.*' 
It seems that Mary is no longer living under John's 
roof. The upheaval caused by the persecution which 
Rome has set on foot has compelled Mary to flee into a 
wilderness retreat: "When the dragon saw that he was 
cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which 
had brought forth the man child. And to the woman 
were given two wings of a great eagle, that she 
might fly into the wilderness, into her place where 
she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, 
from the face of the serpent. And the dragon was wroth 
with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant 
of her seed.'* John is at pains to explain that she is 
not lacking there for the necessaries of life — apparently 
in the wish to free himself from any charge of dereliction 
to the dying injunction of Jesus. Therefore he states 


that Mary, in the wilderness retreat to which she has 
escaped, "hath a place prepared of God, that they 
should feed her there a thousand two hundred and 
three-score days." 

The economic viewpoint is emphasized. John peers 
under the surface tangle. lie perceives that, beneath 
all of its trappings, governmental and military, the 
Roman Empire is at heart an industrial and commercial 
organization for revenue only. By means of that empire, 
the trade of the Mediterranean has fallen into the hands 
of large commercial corporations, whose headquarters 
are in Rome. This monopoly is enforced by the empire, 
that beast with its seven-hilled head: "He causeth all 
both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to 
receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. 
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the 
mark or the name of the beast. " It is further interest- 
ing to note that in John's enumeration of the riches of 
Rome, slaves are mentioned last, the climax of it all; 
with the destructive effect of that slavery on the souls 
of the enslaved. Says he, prefiguring Rome's overthrow: 
"The merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over 
her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more. 
The merchandise of gold and silver and precious stones, 
and of pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and 
scarlet, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner 
vessels of most precious wood and of brass and iron and 
marble, and cinnamon and odours and ointments and 
frankincense, and wine and oil and fine flour and wheat 
and beasts and sheep and horses and chariots, and slaves, 
and the souls of men. " 


We saw in the scene at the Calvary hill that Rome's 
ingrained thievishness extended even to stealing a help- 
less man's clothing. John had been an eye-witness of 
that scene, and his blood must have reached the boil- 
ing point at the cool insolence of those robber Romans. 
Perhaps he himself now has had some unpleasant ex- 
perience of similar nature. It was not exceptional for 
a couple of Roman soldiers, meeting a lone man on the 
highway, to strip his clothing from him for their own 
use, and leave him to find his way home as best he 
could. For we find John including in his book a warn- 
ing that one will "come as a thief; blessed is he that 
watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked. " 

John was apparently open-eyed to * *The System, ' ' where- 
by Rome extended her empire over the earth by taking in- 
to the partnership the native aristocracy in each country. 
He likens this compact on the part of the local oligarchies 
to dallyings with a prostitute. Rome is a harlot who 
has seduced the local princes and magnates in each 
nation to forsake their own people and enter into un- 
clean relations with her. The figure is powerful, even 
to the limits of propriety; but a strong image is needed 
in order to convey John's hatred of the "cohesion of 
wealth" whereby the working classes throughout the 
world are being reduced into a common slavery. He 
says: "I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast 
having seven heads. And the woman was arrayed in 
purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and pre- 
cious stones and pearls. And upon her forehead was a 
name written: Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother 
of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. And I 


saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints and 
with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. " " Come hither; 
I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore 
that sitteth upon many waters. The woman which thou 
sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings 
of the earth. The waters which thou sawest, where the 
whore sitteth, are peoples and multitudes and nations 
and tongues. For the kings of the earth have committed 
fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth 
are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. *' 

But her downfall is being accomplished. The common 
people are ripe for revolt. Jesus, looking abroad upon 
the growing seditiousness of the submerged, had said, 
"The fields are ripe. " John takes up the metaphor, and 
states that the harvest is commencing: "I looked, and 
behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like 
unto the Son of Man, having in his hand a sharp sickle. 
And another angel came, crying with a loud voice. Thrust 
in thy sickle and reap; for the time is come for thee to 
reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that 
sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle; and the earth was 
reaped. " 

So far is John from explaining away the charge that 
the burning of Rome was at the hands of the christians 
that he likens to an angel the one who bore the torch 
against her: "Another angel came out from the altar, 
which had power over fire; and cried with a loud voice 
to him that had the sharp sickle, saying. Thrust in thy 
sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, 
for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust 
in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of 


the earth, and cast it into a great wine-press of the wrath 
of God. And the wine-press was trodden, and blood came 
out of the wine-press. " "And another angel cried might- 
ily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, 
is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the 
hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and 
hateful bird. Her sins have reached unto heaven, and 
God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even 
as she rewarded you, and double unto her double accord- 
ing to her works; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her 
double. How much she hath glorified herself and lived 
deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her. There- 
fore shall her plagues come in one day, death and mourn- 
ing and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; 
for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the 
kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and 
lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her and lament 
her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, stand- 
ing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, 
alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For 
in one hour is thy judgment come. And every ship- 
master, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as 
many as trade by sea, stood afar off and cried, when they 
saw the smoke of her burning. ** 

At this point the scene shifts. John beholds coming 
into existence a new social order. Rome and all her 
works are thought of by him as having come ingloriously 
to an end. In place of that organization of society, 
whereby a few saddled themselves on the backs of the 
many, dawns a new age, the long sought commonwealth 


of workers. And all the sons of the morning exult to- 
gether. It is as the voice of many waters. Also there 
are harpers harping with their harps. And this new age 
shall not be for kings and privileged ones in purple. It 
shall be for the people : * *I, John, saw the holy city coming 
down from God out of heaven. And I heard a great voice 
saying. The tabernacle of God is with men, and he 
will dwell with them. And God shall wipe away all 
tears from their eyes; and there shall be neither sorrow 
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the 
former things are passed away." "And he saith unto 
me. Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book; for 
the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be un- 
just still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous 
still. I come quickly. " 


The question presents itself, Why did not the deliv- 
erance mentioned by John come? "The things which 
must shortly be done," is the way he put it. Then why 
were they not done? "Behold, I come quickly." 
But the one mentioned did not "come quickly." "The 
time is at hand," said John. Then why did it not 
come to birth? 

There has been a slip-up somewhere. The full-fed 
stream of democracy which had been setting in like a 
flood of mighty waters overflowing, fertilizing the earth 
with its richness, came after a while to a pause. A time 
arrived when its waters ceased to rise, then began slowly to 
recede, and before long the parched plain of human so- 
ciety, which had hailed the bursting forth of the spring 
with such unmistakable gladness, saw the stream dwindle 
into a rivulet, and finally disappear. Evidently some- 
thing has happened. 

We are not long in discovering what that something 
is. Rome the annexer has added one more to her list 
of annexations — she has annexed Christianity. It is 
impossible in passing not to pay a tribute of admiration 
to her sagacity in the affair. Perceiving herself unable 
to kill this new Cult of The Carpenter, she kidnaps 
it. That the Roman Empire should have appropriated 


to her own ends the Jesus she had crucified is a brazen- 
ness probably without parallel. Rome attributed to 
herself the ferocity of the wolf. We shall now have 
to credit her also with the wisdom of the serpent. 
The children of this world are in very deed wiser in 
their generation than the children of light. 

The annexing process was started by a Roman citizen 
named Saul. Formerly a Jew, he deserted his nation- 
ality and with it his former name, and called himself 
thereafter Paul. Paul was undeniably sincere. He 
believed that in reinterpreting the christian faith so 
as to make it acceptable to the Romans he was doing 
that faith a service. His make-up was imperial rather 
than democratic. Both by birth and training he was 
unfitted to enter into the working-class consciousness of 
Galileans. He was in culture a Hellenist, in religion a 
Pharisee, in citizenship a Roman. From the first strain, 
Hellenism, he received a bias in the direction of philos- 
ophy rather than economics; from the second, his Phar- 
isaism, he received a bias toward aloofness, other- 
worldliness; and from the third, his Romanism, he received 
a bias toward political acquiescence and the preservation 
of the status quo. The intensity with which he first along 
persecuted the Jesus cult was evidence of this mental 
make-up. In those Galileans Paul saw a contempt of the 
learned and cultured class, and thereupon the Hellenist 
in him flamed up ; he saw in them a disregard of churchly 
morals, and the Pharisee in him flamed up; he saw in them 
further a revolutionary spirit, and the Roman citizen in 
him flamed up. So that during this period he had been 
very zealous in his opposition to "The Way.'* Then he 


experienced conversion. But his conversion did not 
change these mental forms into which he had been cast, 
and in which his nature had been hardening through five 
and twenty years. Rather he carried his mental furni- 
ture over into the new allegiance. When he became a 
christian it was a Hellenistic, Pharisaic, and essentially 
Romanized type of christian, and very different from 
the Galilee brand. 

And the proof of this is that the Galilean company, after 
they found out the real spirit that was in this "convert, " 
refused to recognize him. On the contrary they quarreled 
with him bitterly. The fight is narrated in The Acts. 
References to it are also found in Paul's writings, in his 
complaints as to the way the original Galilean band are 
treating him. Scholars, finding a natural affinity with 
the Pauline type of mind, take Paul's side and explain 
the controversy as one in which Paul stood for Chris- 
tianity's release from the ceremonial law of Judaism. 
But the Galileans were notorious for their disregard and 
irreverence of the Jewish ceremonials, and in the nar- 
rative of the quarrel in The Acts, Peter and his fol- 
lowers readily waive this point. No. The opposition 
between the two parties was deep-lying. It was more 
than a difference of view as to the importance or non- 
importance of Jewish ceremonial. It was an opposition 
of spirit. It was the fundamental antinomy: Jewish 
democratism in Peter and his fellow Galileans, as 
opposed to Roman imperialism in Paul. 

For a long time preceding his conversion two men had 
been contending in Paul — a Roman and a Jew. The 
feud between them had been violent. It had torn his 


spirit asunder. Finally on the Damascus road the Roman 
achieved the victory. To be jarred loose from his an- 
cestral holdings, dazed him for a time; no intense nature 
ever yet expatriated itself without experiencing a wrench. 
When he recovered, the Jew in him was dead. The Saul 
had become Paul. True, Jesus was a factor in this con- 
version experience. But the Jesus to whom Paul went 
over was not the Carpenter of Galilee, but rather an im- 
perial magnate, lord of a renewed and glorified Roman 
Empire. Christianity did not change Paul so much as 
Paul changed Christianity. 

Paul planned to make Christianity the religion of the 
Roman Empire. It needed a religion badly. The cat- 
alogue of its vices, in the forepart of the Epistle to the 
Romans, is proof. Paul the Roman citizen saw noth- 
ing but excellence in Rome's world-wide empire. Only, 
it must be redeemed from its laxity of morals. There- 
fore he would bring to it the christ as its cleanser and 
thereby its perpetuator. It was the test of loyal citizen- 
ship among the Romans to seek out in every part of the 
world that which was most rare and valued, and bring it 
back to Rome as a gift. Thus her sons went forth and 
returned laden with richest trophies to lay at her feet. 
They brought to her pearls from India, gold chariots from 
Babylon, elephants from interior Africa, high-breasted 
virgins from the Greek isles, Phidian marbles from Athens. 
Paul also would be a bringer of gifts to the Rome that 
had honoured him and his fathers with the high honour 
of citizenship. And the gift he would bring and lay at 
her feet would be the richest of them all — a religion. 

Accordingly Paul set about to cast Christianity into 


the mould of the Roman Empire. In his tours we find 
him travelling the main-trodden routes of the Roman 
legions and merchants. His geography is the geography 
of the empire. The various metropoli, the administration 
headquarters of the several provinces, become his head- 
quarters also. He plans an imperial church patterned 
after the empire, in that there shall reign in it an 
iron uniformity, national qualities being abolished, and 
all things brought under one centralized and powerful 
head. Himself of an imperial temperament, so that he 
ill brooked any spirit of independency on the part of his 
subordinates — note his refusal to forgive John Mark, 
and his split with Barnabas — Paul found the Roman 
masterful type congenial, and sought to incorporate it 
into the christian system. He shares with the other 
christians the idea that a catastrophic end of the age is 
approaching. But the new order of society which he 
thinks of as following that cataclysm, is the Roman Em- 
pire still. Only Jesus will now be its imperator. Christ 
the emperor will have put all enemies under his feet. 
The new empire will be a despotism as iron-handed as 
the present one; only it will be a benevolent despotism. 
Had Paul known The Carpenter personally, he would 
have known him as one aboriginally incapable of a con- 
cordat with despotism, ' how benevolent soever that 
despotism might be. The passive estate of the populace 
which all despotisms — good and bad — presuppose, 
was not regarded as the ideal state of society by him who 
was killed because "he stirreth up the people.'* Paul, 
in picturing Jesus as doflfing his mechanic's apron to 
assume the pomp and purple of an imperator, betrays 


ignorance of him who came not to be ministered unto 
but to minister, and who, when he sought a truly imperial 
garb, "took a towel and girded himself; after that he 
poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the dis- 
ciples' feet." Jesus was emphatic that he had no 
designs on the emperor's throne. 

Paul informs us that he obtained not his Christianity 
from the original disciples. He even makes boast of 
the fact. Jesus had been very much at home in the 
company of Peter and James and John and the rest of the 
loyal Galilean band that had followed him from the 
first: "Ye are they which have been with me in my 
temptations." But Paul will have nothing to do with 
those Galileans. He explains with gusto that he re- 
fused to sit at their feet for instruction. Far from it. 
He is at pains to point out that after his "conversion" 
he went off into the desert of Arabia, and there syllogized 
a Christianity of his own. The arrogance involved in 
this Pharisaic assumption of superiority over the Gali- 
lean disciples, because they belonged to the working class 
and had not had his advantage of a university education, 
were unbelievable did not Paul report it himself: "Im- 
mediately I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither 
went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before 
me; but I went into Arabia." From the start-off Paul 
makes it clearly apparent that if Christianity is to 
attract Roman citizens such as himself, it will have to be 
taken out of the hands of those working-class disciples, 
and presented with some grace of scholarship and culture. 

Paul has nothing to do with Mary the Mother. He 
never mentions her name. His quarrel with the Galilean 


company implies a quarrel with her also, for she was 
passionately at one with them. Had he been humble 
enough to sit for a while at the feet of Mary and her 
fellow Galileans, he would never have made the mistake 
of attributing imperialistic designs to a leader who en- 
joined, "call no man master," and whose forehead re- 
fused to wear a kingly crown though the people urgently 
proffered it. But Paul had been too long "a Pharisee of 
the Pharisees." And it was not characteristic of the 
Pharisee type, with its pride of class and pride of culture, 
to take instruction from illiterate Galileans: "Thou wast 
altogether born in sin, and dost thou teach us! and they 
cast him out. " Paul's "much learning" had bred in him 
a distrust of "ignorant" people, meaning thereby people 
who had not a college education. "Having the under- 
standing darkened, being alienated from the life of God 
through the ignorance that is in them" — a typically Phar- 
isaic utterance, and one inconceivable in the mouth of The 
Carpenter, who, "when he saw the multitude, was moved 
with compassion on them," who commended their un- 
affected natures, who cherished a clasp from their calloused 
hands more than from the hands of the haughty scholar 
class, and who called them with infinite tenderness "babes 
and little ones," rejoicing that his Way, which was "hid 
from the wise and prudent," was "revealed unto babes." 

The parallel between Paul and Cicero is striking. Each 
of them achieved an immortality of fame through con- 
summate mastery of language. Both were of unim- 
peachable private character, and were even rigourists 
in the matter of personal purity. Both were given to self- 


pity — took pleasure in recording their tribulations. 
And the life work of both contributed powerfully to 
buttress the falling walls of privilege and the ruling caste. 
Cicero forsook the upper bourgeoisie into which he had 
been born — "naturalized immigrant" is what some 
in Rome called him — threw in his lot with the senatorial 
magnates as against the cause of democracy, and lent his 
powerful gifts of tongue and pen to the aggrandizement 
of the seigniorial class and to the overthrow of agrarian 
agitators. Attitudinizing for posterity, he employed 
his literary talents to immortalize the things he had 
accomplished. The oligarchy welcomed his accession 
to their party, used him as long as they had need of his 
rhetoric, and then beheaded him. For a Benedict Arnold 
never yet found permanent honour and safety with the 
people he sought to serve. In Cicero's case the closing 
act of the drama has a touch of poetic justice. For 
we see his lifeless head in the lap of Fulvia, pampered 
daughter of the magnate class whom he had tried so 
desperately to serve; and she merrily pierces with a 
golden needle that tongue which had dripped the honey 
of matchless phrases. 

Except when the Romans beheaded Paul at last — after 
they had used him also to the full — no instance is known 
of enmity between him and the Roman Empire. He 
was on good terms with that empire throughout. In 
return for his apostasy from the Jewish race with its 
intense traditions of democracy, Rome repaid him with 
befriendment at the hands of her military and judicial 
machinery. She petted him at every turn. Paul had 
"persecutions" — as he delights to relate — but they 


were not at the hands of the Roman Empire. They 
were at the hands of the Jews, his former fellow country- 
men, whose nationality he was trying to break up. Paul 
sought to degrade the Jews into accepting a place in 
Rome's cosmopolitan proletariat. He had renounced the 
Jewish race; why could not they renounce it also? It 
never seems to have occiirred to him that his case and 
theirs were different. When he cut loose from Israel 
he had his Roman citizenship to go over into, so that, 
from a worldly point of view, his "conversion" on the 
Damascus road was distinctly a gain for him; it was a 
going over from Israel's inveterate insurgency into the 
Roman alignment, the party of the establishment, the 
rulers and possessors of the earth. For his Jewish breth- 
ren, however, to renounce their nationality would have 
meant a roofless and defenceless condition, for they had 
no Roman citizenship to go over into. 

Since the time of Augustus the privilege of citizenship 
in the Empire was rigidly limited. If the Jews had fol- 
lowed Paul's exhortation and had expatriated themselves, 
they would have sunk into the proletary mass, without 
recognition in the Roman courts, with no rights that their 
conquerors were bound to respect, condemned to live their 
lives exposed to the tender mercies of a military dictator- 
ship whose avowed purpose was to crush them steadily 
down into a status of slavery. Perhaps Paul would argue 
that a mere worldly thing like Roman citizenship was a 
trifling privilege compared to eternal riches, and not to be 
taken into account. The answer is that he made use 
of that trifling privilege in his own case. Again and again, 
when he found himself in a tight place, he evoked the 



rights which were due him as a Roman citizen, and always 
with beneficent results to himself. 

Paul was a stockholder in Rome's world corporation.^ 
And that stock by slow degrees had blinded him to the 
injustice of a social system in whose dividends he himself 
shared. This explains in large part why he accepted the 
political status quo, and preached its acceptance by others. 
Students of ethics have diflSculty in reconciling Aristotle' 
defence of human servitude, "slavery is a law of nature 
which is advantageous and just," with his insight and 
logic in other matters. The dijBBculty resolves itself 
when it is recalled that Aristotle possessed thirteen slaves, 
and therefore had exactly thirteen arguments for the 
righteousness of slavery. Seneca, gifted in other things 
with fine powers of moral philosophy, saw no monstrous- 
ness in Nero that he should rebuke — Seneca was a 
favourite with Nero, and was using that favouritism to 
amass an enormous fortune. Paul was too highly edu- 
cated — using the term in its academic sense — to be 
at one with the unbookish Galileans, and he was per- 
sonally too much the gainer from Rome's empire of privi- 
lege to share the insurrectionary spirit of the Son of Mary. 
Said Gladstone: "In almost every one, if not in every 
one, of the greatest political controversies of the last 
fifty years, whether they affected the franchise, whether 
they affected commerce, whether they affected religion, 
whether they affected the bad and abominable institution 
of slavery, or what subject they touched, these leisured 
classes, these educated classes, these titled classes, have 
been in the wrong. " 

There was no work-consciousness in Paul. To be sure 



he knew tent-making; but he had been taught it 
only as every Jewish boy — once again, the inveterate 
democratism of the race — was compelled by their law 
to learn some trade. Tent-making was not a part of 
himself; it was something tacked on. Jesus had been 
fundamentally a workingman; his speech reeks of it — 
the building of houses and laying of foundations; plough- 
ing, baking, fishing — a homeliness in it all. But in Paul's 
writings there is not one figure drawn from tent-making. 
His allusions are literary. He was brought up in a 

Paul was under the spell of Rome's material greatness. 
His heart was secretly enticed by her triumphal arches, 
her literature, her palaces on the Palatine, her baths, 
porticos of philosophy, gymnasia, schools of rhetoric, 
her athletic games in the arena. He thought of her 
history, her jurisprudence, her military might, the starry 
names in her roll of glory, her sweep of empire from the 
Thames to the Tigris, and from the Rhine to the deserts of 
Africa; and when, to this summary, came the pleasant 
reflection that he was a part of this world corporation, 
one of the privileged few to share in its profits, it was not 
hard for him to find reasons to justify his desertion of 
that poverty-stricken and fanatically democratic race 
of Israel off there in unimportant Palestine. 

A true Roman, Paul preaches to the proletariat the 
duty of political passivity. To The Carpenter, with his 
splendid worldliness, the premier qualification for char- 
acter was self-respect, and the alertness and mastery 
of environment which go with self-respect. But to Paul 
the primate virtue is submissiveness — "the powers that 


be!" He sought to cure the seditiousness of the work 
class by drawing off their gaze to a crown of righteousness 
reserved in heaven for them — a gaseous felicity beyond 
the stars. Israel, holding fast to the enrichment of the 
present life, had kept its religion from getting off into 
fog lands, by seeking "a city that hath foundations." 
But Paul sought to hush all these "worldly" aims; he 
wooed the toiling masses to desire "a building of God, a 
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 
He was a true yoke-fellow of Py lades, the Roman play 
actor who, wishing to justify his usefulness to the master 
class, said to Augustus that, "it was for the emperor's 
advantage that the people should have their attention 
fixed on the playhouse rather than on politics." 

Paul is an object-lesson of the hazards that beset the 
religious life once it lets go its holdfast in economics. 
His mystic absorptions, " speaking with tongues " — those 
orgasms of the spirit — would not have been, had he re- 
tained his Jewish traditions and indentured his spiritual- 
ity to serve as the handmaid of democracy. The pro- 
gramme of life projects an orbit as to humanity's future 
which we have no power to calculate. Man's task is to 
chart the ascertainable dimensions of our social destiny, 
without seeking to plot the curve to infinity. Paul 
entered upon the path of intellectual sterility when he 
substituted a delirious mysticism and orgy, for the social 
enthusiasms which alone should intoxicate the spirit. 

This Romanized rhetorician is eloquent in condemning 
the sins of the private life — herein a typical Pharisee. 
Stern against fleshly and convivial offences — the sins of 
the poor — Paul would probably have cast a first stone 


against the woman taken in adultery. But he is strangely 
silent concerning the social sinners of the day. Six 
Roman grandees owned half of the then-known Africa. 
Banquets of criminal extravagance in Rome contrasted 
with working families everywhere pinched with hunger. 
During these thirty years preceding her destruction, 
misgovernment in Palestine was extreme. Slavery's 
living crucifixion had dehumanized sixty million toilers, 
and was reaching out now for the rest. The spread of 
Rome's iniquitous industrialism over the earth was like 
the march of a pestilence. But Paul had no rebuke 
for these things. 

Even his no-work-no-eat doctrine was directed 
by him only against the poor. All around him were 
the rich, virginally innocent of toil, and yet who were 
gorged to the gullet. Paul sharpens no dagger of in- 
vective for these. Non-producers — some of whom 
are in rags and some in tags, but some also are in velvet 
gowns — should indeed be non-consumers. We hold 
here no brief for the idle poor. And Paul should not have 
accepted a retainer from the idle rich. In Paul's thought, 
economic foundations had no place. With his Roman 
reverence for property, he held that the huge inequalities 
of fortune were ordained of God, and their source therefore 
not a proper subject of human inquiry; so that he ful- 
minates against "variance, emulations, wrath, strife, 
sedition, heresies, envyings." A stationary and im- 
mobile condition of the masses was precisely not included 
in the programme of The Carpenter. But in Paul's 
Christianity, acquiescence is " all the law and the proph- 
ets" — civic arrogance on the part of a few, civic 


indifference on the part of the many. He even held up 
the penury of Jesus as an object-lesson for the work 
classes; so that the Roman magnates, reseated on their 
shaky thrones by this theology of slavishness, might well 
have echoed Paul's gratitude for that mud-plastered hut 
in Nazareth, "that we through his poverty might 
become rich." 

Valiantly have Paul's apologists sought to defend his 
course, by the argument that the Roman Empire was a 
good thing. Let us hear therefore from Ferrero, himself 
an Italian and natively in love with all things Roman, 
but whose scientific conscience compels him to exact 
knowledge, no matter across what heart-strings the 
knife may cut: "To understand the true nature of 
the Roman Empire we must abandon one of the most 
general and most widespread misconceptions, which 
teaches that Rome administered her provinces in a broad- 
minded spirit, consulting the general interest and adopt- 
ing wide and beneficent principles of government for the 
good of the subjects. Subject races have never been so 
governed, either by Rome or by any other empire." 
And he amplifies the indictment in detail: "Destroying 
so many governments, especially in the Orient, Rome had 
at the same time decapitated the intellectual elites of 
the ancient world. Rome had, therefore, together with 
states and governments, destroyed scientific and literary 
institutions, centres of art, traditions of refinement, of 
taste, of aesthetic elegance. So everywhere, with the 
Roman domination, the practical spirit won above the 
philosophical and scientific, commerce over arts and let- 
ters. When Augustus began to govern the empire, the 


classes that represent tradition, culture, the elevated 
and disinterested activities of the spirit, were everywhere 
extensive in number, in wealth, in energy. It was not 
long before these ultimate remainders vanished under the 
big economic gains of the first century. Greek thinkers 
disappeared. Philosophy gradually gave out. In painting 
and sculpture original schools were no more to be found. " 

Agrippa saw in Paul a friend of "The System" — himself 
named after that Agrippa who was the organizing genius 
of the empire during its foundation period, and with- 
out whom Augustus would perhaps have been imequal 
to the job. The Syrian Agrippa sees in Paul's type 
of Christianity a cult that promises to be highly 
beneficial to the master class: "Almost thou persuadest 
me to be a christian." This Agrippa had long been 
scratching a perplexed skull for some device to keep the 
populace quiet. That surging, ominous "multitude," 
mourning its loss of liberty and refusing to be comforted, 
was giving him bad dreams at night. Now in Paul's 
cult of mystical frenzy and other- worldliness, he saw the 
thing which perhaps would turn the trick; therefore he 
wished it well. The Herods, as we saw, were uniformly 
hostile to Jesus. They were in every instance favourable 
to Paul. 

The Carpenter had sought sharpness of distinction 
in economic principles, even though it cut square across 
the family circle: "Suppose ye that I am come to give 
peace on the earth ? I tell you, Nay ; but rather division. 
Paul, on the contrary, sought to blur distinctions, his idea 
being a cosmopolitan mass, a mush of humanity such as 
exploiters everywhere find favourable to their interests. 


He exhorted that his hearers should think of "neither 
Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free. " He craved that all 
men should speak well of him: "Paul announced for him- 
self, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against 
the temple, nor yet against Csesar, have I offended any- 
thing at all, " — which reminds one of Cicero, who, con- 
fronted by some hard choice, would dodge by claiming 
friendliness to both sides. It is not strange that Paul 
had to defend himself from the charge of pointlessness : 
"So fight I, not as one beating the air." Cicero could 
not have surpassed Paul in the art of trimming his sails 
to the wind: "Unto the Jews I became as a Jew. To 
them that are under the law, as under the law. To them 
that are without the law, as without law. To the weak, 
became I as weak. I am made all things to all men." 
(Whence perhaps arose the saying, " When in Rome do 
as the Romans do. ") 

To all of which one can only reply, and it is appli- 
cable to the Cicero tribe everywhere: Though you 
speak with the tongues of men and of angels, if you 
do not take part against the oppressor you are become 
as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. 

We can understand therefore why Peter and his 
fellow Galileans quarrelled so bitterly and persistently 
with Paul. (The Epistles ascribed to John and Peter 
in the canon are attributed by scholars to-day to other 
authorships; they are too imbued with the Pauline at- 
mosphere of Pharisaic pietism and submissiveness to 
have been the product of the Galilean mind, which was 
in utter opposition to Paul and his school.) The 


Acts record an attempt to patch up the feud. But the 
peace there patched together was only a makeshift, and 
the quarrel broke out afresh. In the letters of Paul the 
discerning can read between the lines the controversy 
that is raging: "If any man preach any other gospel unto 
you than that ye have received, let him be anathema. " 
Paul says, referring to Peter: "I withstood him to the 
face. " Paul's literary gifts have preserved his side alone 
of the quarrel, so that the Peter group seems to have been 
silenced. In reality, however, they were far from silenced. 
The feud resumed between their followers, lasted for gen- 
erations, and coloured the history of the early church. 

John was steadfastly with Peter in this antagonism 
to Paul. In a passage of his Book of Revelation he 
seems to hurl back at this Romanized Paul the anath- 
emas which Paul was heaping upon him and his fellow 
Galileans. No name is mentioned, but the characteri- 
zation points, if not to Paul, then to some one very like 
him. For the "false prophet" there referred to is one 
who, like Paul, had the power of performing "works" 
— psychic wizardry; it is some one who made a show 
of lamb-like patience; some one who was friendly to the 
Roman Empire, the "beast," and who helped make 
the proletariat friendly to that empire; and it was some 
one, finally, who wielded power conferred upon him 
by the "beast." Says John: "I beheld another beast 
coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like 
a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth 
all the power of the first beast, and causeth the earth 
and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, 
and he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the 


means of those miracles which he had power to do in the 
sight of the beast. And he had power to give life unto 
the image of the beast. Here is wisdom. Let him that 
hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it 
is the number of a man. " John adds that the triumph 
of this apostate prophet was to be short-lived because 
"the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet." 
There is a suggestion that John was stung to this bitter 
invective — and John's vituperative vocabulary, once 
awakened, was of no small compass — by Paul's 
studious neglect of Mary the Mother, arousing in him 
a gallantry of rage. For this passage in which John 
uncorks the vitriol within him, follows close on the heels 
of the soaring tribute to Mary. Paul studiously ignored 
Mary the Mother. In fact, his attitude toward woman 
as a whole was typical of the hard Roman whose one ideal 
was subjugation, extending even to the wife of his bosom 
and the mother of his children: "Let the women learn 
in silence, with all subjugation. But I suffer not a woman 
to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but be in 
silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve" — there 
speaks your true Roman, your true subjugator in every 
age. To Aristotle also, slaves were "living machines," 
and women were nature's failure to produce men. There 
is in Paul an absence of the finer sentiments : unthinkable 
that he should have gone to war for a Helen, "the face 
that launched a thousand ships. " Despite his rhetorical 
sky-shooting and mystic exaltations, there is in Paul a 
hard and mechanical note. Unlike The Carpenter, he 
does not consider the lilies, neither does he see in little 
children a benediction. His, "the man is not of the 


woman, but the woman is of the man; neither was the 
man created for the woman but the woman for the man,'* 
reeks of Rome's hard masterfulness. 

If John's words against Paul — or against some one very 
like unto him — seem overheated, let the reader recall 
the circumstances under which they were uttered. Paul 
was a citizen — and a boastful one — of Rome's blood- 
stained empire, which at that moment under Nero was 
most blood-stained of any time in its history. Rome's 
persecutions lighted on the other christians, but they 
lighted not on Paul. The Galilean party saw their 
friends and kindred dragged into the Roman Coliseum, 
nailed to crosses there, and torn from the spikes by raven- 
ing beasts; or, dressed in tunics soaked with pitch, saw 
them burned to death, wrapped in shirts of fire. And 
Paul, himself exempt from that persecution, was boasting 
of his citizenship in the empire that was persecuting these 
others. Even when, like Cicero, he met his own death 
at last (when Rome had used him to her satisfaction), 
he still had wherewith to boast. For to him was meted 
out a soldierly death — beheading; a Roman citizen 
could not be crucified or burned to death. 

It may be argued that the time was not ripe for de- 
mocracy ; that the people were too far sunk in bestiality ; that 
the very taste for freedom was dead in most of them; that 
despotism, therefore, was the only alternative to anarchy; 
and that Paul, in strengthening as he did the forces of con- 
servatism and reaction, was taking the statesmanly course. 

To which the answer is that democracy itself is the 
best — and only — creator of a people fit for democracy. 


Self-government is the one school for the teaching of 
self-government. Despotism justifies itself by pointing 
to the bestiality of the people. But despotism was in 
large part the cause of that bestiality. Where self- 
expression has free play, the higher instincts grow of 
themselves. Let self-expression be inhibited, the ener- 
gies which well up so bountifully in man find vent now 
only through the lower appetites, and the wild passions 
which thereupon break loose make needful a further 
extension of despotism's police. It was not by chance 
that the formation of the empire was accompanied by 
the amatory verse of an Ovid, and by the outbreak in 
Rome of a reign of licentiousness on the part of her young 
men, who formerly had found their life interest in politics. 
The libertinism was pervasive, worming its shiny trail 
into the palace of Augustus himself and plaguing his 
latter days with family scandal. The overthrow of 
Cromwell and the Commonwealth was signallized by 
the drama of the Restoration Period. Affirmed Louis 
Quatorze, "L'etat, c'est moi." The people took him at 
his word and went off into the license of France-of- 
the-eighteenth-century. The "vice" of Byron, which 
has been held up against him so pertinaciously, was in 
largest measure the souring of a nature whose fresh 
enthusiasms for humanity had been disappointed by 
the reactionary tendencies of the time. Russia at this 
moment, thwarted in her aspirations after liberty, is 
being thrust back on to her lower self; and as a conse- 
quence is pouring out a flood of pornographic literature 
which threatens to breed wild work and to make cossacks 
and knouts and gibbets needful in even larger 


numbers than before. It is a vicious circle; Tyranny 
begets in the people eroticism; and there is nothing 
more favourable to the despot than erotic exhaustion 
in his people. 

The Carpenter of Nazareth, by reintroducing the 
common people to hope and zest and self-activity, was 
producing a moral transformation which would have 
made absolutism unneedful. Self-government impossible? 
To an awakened proletariat nothing is impossible. The 
awakenment itself was the great miracle. Given that, 
all other miracles followed. It is unscientific to judge 
that era by the ordinary canons of statecraft. The age 
was unusual. A movement more than ordinary was 
astir in the world, and would have produced results quite 
beyond the ordinary. If that wave of popular awaken- 
ment which from Nazareth was sweeping so multitu- 
dinously over the earth, had been suffered to continue, 
all things would have been possible to it. True, the 
democracies thus established would have been im- 
perfect. There would have been strifes and warrings. 
Ignorance in the people would have given a grotesque 
warp to many an experiment in popular rights. To hitch 
one's wagon to a star is to be dragged swiftly — and 
some of the roads are going to be rough and jolty. But, 
amid all the strifes and gropings and grotesqueries, the 
proletariat of the ancient world would have remained 
alive; and for that, no price would have been too costly. 
Better any amount of strivings, any amount of up- 
heavals, turnings and overturnings perpetual, than grave- 
yard peace, the calm of death. Moreover, a proletariat 
which could produce The Carpenter, would not have 


made altogether sorry work of self-government. 
His colossal trust in the people was because 
he himself was the product of the people. A work- 
ing class that had brought forth an awakener of its 
energies such as he, could have been trusted to bring 
forth other leaders to guide those energies. New 
occasions would have brought new capacities; for an 
age of awakenment is but another name for an age 
of genius. 

But it was not so. The re-energizing wave faltered, 
came to a halt, fell back. Nothing could have impeded 
Christianity from the outside — obstacles did but bring 
increase of momentum, the blood-baths soaked new 
strength into her sinews. Christianity was betrayed 
from the inside. Rome insinuated herself within the 
christian ranks, and there did her work. By a reinter- 
pretation of The Carpenter — under the pretence of 
adding to his glory — she exorcised from that magic 
name its power of evoking democracy; she turned it 
into a reinforcer of despotism. It was a masterpiece of 
strategy. The goad which had been pricking the people 
mto unrest, was now a flail beating them down into 
submission. Religion with its powerful leverage 
on the human heart no longer urged to liberty 
and self-respect. It lent its ghostly counsels now to 
quietism — obedience, at any cost of personal values. 
If the light that is in the world be darkness, how great 
is that darkness ! 

And the result — the death of the ancient world. 
Jerusalem, set in a landscape of desolations, gives to the 
traveller to-day the feel of an infinite loneliness. Jews 


of the Orient in their parti-coloured garments gather 
to this day before the Wailing Wall, that fragment of 
the ancient temple structure quarried by Solomon's 
workmen: "Hasten, hasten, O Redeemer of Zion," 
is the hysterical prayer. But the passionate lamentation 
is answered back only by the wall, sole relic of Israel's 
national glory, and whose stones have been smoothed 
by the kisses now of many generations. The East, 
once the joy and pride of the world, is to-day a problem 
and a menace. By its fruits ye shall know the Roman 
Empire. The city of Rome was built on the site of 
extinct volcanoes. The stones in her temples were the 
result of igneous action — her walls were built of lava con- 
glomerate streaked with red. Not altogether unfitting. 
It is a type of the source of her splendours. Rome's 
gorgeousness was at the expense of native fires of genius 
in a hundred nations — her pride and wealth were built 
out of and upon extinguished revolutions. Her history, 
threaded with blood, achieved its glory at the cost of 
many peoples. Rome to-day gives to a visitor the sense 
of something sepulchral, as though she was the burial 
place of the zest and joy and spirit of the ancient world. 

Wherefore our judgment of Paul and his fellow Ro- 
manists stands unreversed. Paul the Apostle is the term 
he coveted. Peter and the Galileans in their lifetime 
denied it unto him — would probably have called him 
Paul the Apostate. Perhaps too harsh a term, that latter. 
Paul did according to his lights, but the lights that were 
in him were darkness. His niche in the abbey of fame is 


secure — his literary gifts have secured him that immor- 
tality. But the regeneration comes not through rhetoric. 
"The powers that be!" — there is no guidance in that 
star. Therefore the democracy will not found on Paul. 
Rather it will found on the Carpenter of Galilee, and with 
him will ask in every age whether the powers that be 
are the powers that ought to be. 


The process of Romanizing the Man of Nazareth 
which was begun by Paul, was taken up after him 
by Greek philosophers. We have seen that an imperial- 
ized Jesus was quite what the Roman Empire 
wished; she would thereby be rid of an insurrec- 
tionary force that was giving her no small trouble, 
and would, furthermore, in the portrait of an im- 
perial christ, obtain a buttress to her own imperial 
idea. She was prepared, therefore, to encourage 
teachers who would continue the business inaugurated 
by Paul. In the schools of Greek philosophy she 
found them. 

The Greek brain for a long time back had been renting 
itself to the "prince of this world." In Athens and the 
other cities of the peninsula, society was based on slavery. 
But her philosophers saw in that nothing to criticize. 
They were themselves allied with the slave owners. 
Philosophers belonged to society's upper crust, and 
could not be accused of any proneness to caste disloyalty. 
Hatch has convincingly pointed out the influence of 
Greek ideas on Christianity. He says of these Greek 
sophists that they made both money and reputation. 
The more eminent of them were among the most dis- 



tinguished men of the time. We remember that The 
Carpenter did not stand high socially. But these Greek 
philosophers, who, in the person of their successors, were 
to interpret him to the world, were the pets of society. 
They often became domestic chaplains. Lucian in his 
essay, "On Persons Who Give Their Society for Pay," 
has amusing vignettes of them, singularly like what is 
pictured of chaplains in the novels of a hundred years 
ago. Philosophy had become a profession. It afforded 
an easy means of livelihood; therefore it had grown degen- 
erate. Philosophers were employed on affairs of state 
at home, and on embassies abroad. They were sometimes 
placed on the free list of their city, and lived at the 
public expense. When they died — sometimes before — 
statues were erected in their honour. This was the 
class into whose hands The Carpenter fell for inter- 

It is needless to say that in handling his life they inter- 
preted away much that had been there, and interpreted 
into it much that had not been there. And this, not 
altogether with malice aforethought. Out of two hun- 
dred thousand people in Athens, all but twenty-seven 
thousand were slaves. Thus Greek philosophers had 
lived so long in a society whose industrialism would not 
stand investigation, that the habit of keeping away from 
the theme of economics had become ingrained in their 
thought processes — brain tracts devoted to thoughts 
industrial, were not in their case "shovelled out." They 
were unable to grasp the thought of Jesus as connected 
in any way with the working class. His life presented 
difficulties to them. The conception of him as an im- 


perial conqueror, and as the divine Wisdom and Power, 
was inconsistent with the meanness of a common work- 
ingman*s career. Accordingly they resolved his life into 
a series of symbolic representations. The Greek mind, 
lifted into the haze of metaphysics and sedulously guard- 
ing its aloofness from such inconvenient subjects as work 
and the workers, had become complex, unreal, arti- 
ficial. Christianity in their hands became likewise unreal 
and artificial. They crushed out its uncultivated earnest- 
ness. Laying more stress on the expression of ideas than 
on the ideas themselves, they tended to suppress the 
very forces which had given Christianity its place, and 
to change the rushing torrent into a broad but feeble 
stream. In the time of The Carpenter sheep was the com- 
monest form of live stock in Palestine. To thrust home 
to his hearers the essential wolfishness of the invasive 
Romans, he used often the figure of sheep being devoured 
by wolves. And he saw that his own death was like to 
come from that quarter: "I am the good shepherd; 
the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But 
he that is a hireling and not the shepherd seeth the wolf 
coming and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf 
catcheth them." But the church leaders reversed the 
figure. They proclaimed that the christian trait is fun- 
damentally one of sheepishness — that the common people 
were made to be eaten legitimately by the grace of God. 
And they exalted as the type of manly perfection an 
Agnus Dei. 

This emasculation of The Carpenter took place not 
without protest on the part of the lowly among his fol- 
Vowers. We find traces of a controversy. Says Ter- 




tullian; "The simpler-minded, not to say ignorant and 
unlearned, men who always form the majority of be- 
lievers, are frightened at the philosophy of the doctrine 
of the Trinity." And he himself cries out: "What 
resemblance is there between a philosopher and a chris- 
tian?" Clement of Alexandria refers to the objection 
raised by the common people against the philosophizing 
trend of himself and his fellow theologians: "I am not 
unaware," says he, "of what is dinned in our ears by the 
ignorant timidity of those who tell us that we ought 
to occupy ourselves with the most necessary matters, 
those in which the faith consists; and that we should 
pass by the superfluous matters that be outside them." 
And he cites those "who think that philosophy will 
prove to have been introduced into Mfe from an 
evil source." 

But the common people, in these protests, were over- 
ridden. It suited "the powers that be," to have Christian- 
ity metamorphosed into a cult of submissiveness and a 
system of philosophy. And metamorphosed it was. The 
history of the second century is the history of the clash 
between these new mystical and metaphysical elements in 
Christianity, and its earlier forms. When the struggle 
ended, there was seemingly so complete a victory of the 
original communities and of the principles which they em- 
bodied, that their opponents seem to vanish. But in reality 
it was a victory in which the victors were the vanquished. 
There was so large an absorption by the original com- 
munities of the principles of their opponents as to de- 
stroy the main reason for a separate existence. The 
absorption was less of speculations than of the tendency 


to speculate. The residuum of permanent effect was 
mainly a habit of mind — an instinctive tendency to 
throw christian ideas into a philosophical form. A 
century and a half after Christianity and philosophy 
first came into close conflict, the ideas and methods 
of philosophy had flowed in such mass into Christianity 
as to have made it no less a philosophy than a religion. 
So subtle had been the process, that even those Church 
Fathers whose instincts were on the side of the people 
against their oppressors were seduced thereby, and, while 
calling out against economic injustice, gave their al- 
legiance to a theologizing trend which was to rivet the 
injustice beyond all power to loosen. 

It is needless to state that in syllogizing Jesus into 
a system of metaphysics, these successors of the sophists 
were at pains not to displease their Roman lords and 
masters. Therefore it came to pass that The Carpenter, 
lifted in their thought into an imperial dignity, was 
worked into a theological system modelled faithfully on 
Roman lines. The idea was fundamental in the Roman 
state that her patrician upper class was of a different 
descent from the plebs, the common herd. The two were 
not made of the same dust. Between them there was 
supposed to be a great gulf fixed, which could by no 
possibility be bridged or crossed. Rome's official desig- 
nation was, "The senate and the Roman people" — 
Senatus populusque Romanus. That conjunctive que 
is eloquent. The senate — the aristocracy — were not 
a part of the Roman people, but were in a different cate- 
gory. The difference was that between owners and the 
owned, rulers and the ruled. And this distinction was 


carried over into her legal procedure, creating there 
the patron-and-client relationship so fundamental in 
Roman life. The plebs had no standing in the law courts. 
The awful majesty of the Roman State would have felt 
itself compromised had it admitted the plebeian, the 
common folk, to its privileges. Therefore the only 
method whereby a pleb could bring a suit in law was 
through the person of some patrician who consented to 
be his patron. At times this was little more than a legal 
form. Nevertheless the fiction was maintained: a pleb 
must become a client of some patrician, and through 
the latter present his case in court. The purpose was 
to perpetuate the distinction between the classes. Accord- 
ingly, in the process of Rome's annexation of Christianity, 
this patron and client relationship was worked into the 
christian system. A "First Person of the Trinity" 
was posited, as the court. Jesus was made into the 
patrician patron, and the common people were the 
plebs who had no recognition at the court in their own 
right, but obtained it only through the patron. "If any 
man sin we have an advocate with the father" — there 
is Rome's social organization transfigured into a theology. 

Christianity was now in a form which Rome could 
use. Therefore she adopted it. Rome had not been 
changed; Christianity was changed. But Rome went 
through the process of being "converted" to the new 
religion. Pope Sylvester and the Emperor Constantine 
ratified the agreement. Constantine, with tongue in 
cheek, solemnly announced that he had become a "con- 
vert." Thereupon the empire prefixed the title "Holy" 


to its name. This "Holy" Roman Empire proclaimed it- 
self the legitimate child of heaven; and proceeded to 
overawe the victims of its industrial exploitation, through 
terror of the anathema. This weapon of intimidation 
was effective; it reached beyond the grave and made the 
gates of hell into an additional slave dungeon for the 
punishment of the seditious. 

Property was now secure. Rome's hard-pressed 
financiers were hard pressed no longer, for the people 
were cowed by the two-fold terror, the powers temporal 
and the powers spiritual. Palestine, that immemorial 
seat of seditiousness, had long before this been crushed 
out of human resemblance by Titus in the Jewish War 
of Revolution. Many a Jerusalemite, amid the crash 
of falling walls, recalled words of warning uttered five 
and thirty years before by a carpenter from Galilee as 
he was being led through her streets by a Roman cohort, 
words foretelling the ultimate design of Rome the In- 
vader: "If they do these things in the green tree, what 
shall be done in the dry?" Awful was the carnage 
at Jerusalem's destruction — a million killed, is Jose- 
phus's estimate. The Jews who were not slain in 
war were sold into slavery, reduced to pauperism, 
or driven from Palestine to become the "Wandering 
Jew" on the face of the earth from that [day to 
this. And a Roman ordinance, in order to make their 
title to Palestine sure, " assigned the whole country to the 
emperor as his private possession." Palestine was a 
fat carcass, and there the eagles were gathered together. 
This destruction of Israel's national existence made 
the Pharisee party within her supreme, for there was no 


longer civic aspirations and political tasks to absorb 
the Jews in the life of the day. The Pharisee therefore 
was left to develop his ritualism and his churchly aloof- 
ness unopposed. Judiasm from that day became a 
church in the midst of society, instead of the demo- 
cratic leaven of society which it had formerly been. The 
lion of the tribe of Judah now licked the hand of its 
captor, docile with a lamb's docility. Thus the Roman 
Empire had peace — the protester had been done 

A calm settled down upon society, the calm of death. 
The barbaric invasion took place. But it left the "Holy" 
Empire unshaken, for the barbarians yielded to the 
ghostly bondage. The master class continued to possess 
the world and all the inhabitants thereof. For Chris- 
tianity was now on the side of Privilege, so that the latter 
could exult, "I will not fear what man can do unto me." 
Machiavelli read the secret. Of ecclesiastical princi- 
palities he wrote: "They are sustained by the powerful 
ordinances of religion, which are so powerful and of such 
quality that they maintain their princes in their position 
no matter what their conduct or mode of life may be. 
These are the only princes that have states without the 
necessity of defending them, and subjects without 
governing them; and their states, though undefended, 
are not taken from them, whilst their subjects are in- 
different to the fact that they are not governed, and have 
no thought of the possibility of alienating themselves 
from their princes." Said Aristotle, in his "Politics": 
"Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment 
from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. 


On the other hand, they do not easily move against him, 
believing that he has the gods on his side. *' 

So thorough-goingly was Christianity changed from 
its original form of a Way, a Democracy, an Awaken- 
ment, that the transformation shaped the New Testa- 
ment when the canon of scripture came to be made up. 
The original simplicity of the gospel story was overlaid 
by explanatory glosses, which were inwoven into the 
text itself. Paul's pietism was given canonical authority 
by the inclusion of his writings, and of writings coloured 
by his spirit, into the Book. Christianity became so 
saturated with metaphysics and pietism that even a 
thinker so clear visioned in other things as Seelye, regards 
Paul and his fellow Hellenists as the essential heart of the 
New Testament. 

Writes Seelye — and his words are the more signifi- 
cant because he perceives that a pietistic interpretation 
of Christianity is a disservice to it in our day; "The 
whole modern struggle for civil and national liberty 
has been conducted not indeed without help from 
Christianity, but without help from the authoritative 
documents of Christianity. Liberty has had to make 
its appeal to those classical examples and that literature 
which were superseded by Christianity. In the French 
Revolution men turned from the New Testament to 
Plutarch. The former they connected with tyranny, 
the latter was their text-book of liberty. Plutarch fur- 
nished them with the teaching they required for their 
special purpose, but the New Testament met all their 
new-born political ardour with a silence broken only 


here and there by exhortations to submission. But this, 
which has been the weakness of Christianity in recent 
times, was its strength in the first ages of its existence. 
The spirit of liberty and the spirit of nationality were 
once for all dead; to sit weeping by their grave might 
for a time be a pious duty, but it could not continue al- 
ways expedient or profitable. It was therefore the 
strength of Christianity that it renounced this unprofit- 
able ideal. When it came forward, in the age of 
Constantine, to lead the thought of the empire, it pre- 
sented a programme in which liberty and nationality 
were omitted. A noble life had before been necessarily 
a free and public life, but the New Testament shows 
how virtue may live under the yoke of an absolute govern- 
ment, and in a complete retirement from politics. Thus 
the age was made somewhat happier by receding some- 
what further from liberty. Tyranny was more cruel, 
and misery was more wide spread; but it was less felt, 
because the age had occupations which absorbed it, and 
was possessed with thoughts which, in a measure, numbed 
the sense of pain." 

So strongly is the Pauline superstition upon Seelye 
that he feels coerced to define religion itself in terms 
of slavishness and passivity: "The age was religious, 
because it was an age of servitude. Religious feeling 
is generally strong in proportion to the sense of weakness 
and helplessness. It is when man's own resources fail 
that he looks most anxiously to find a friend in the 
universe. Religion is man's consolation in the presence 
of a necessity which he cannot resist; his refuge when he 
is deserted by his own power of energy or ingenuity. 


Negroes are religious; the primitive races, in the presence 
of natural phenomena which they could not calculate 
or resist, were intensely religious; women in their depend- 
ence are more religious than men; Orientals under des- 
potic governments are more religious than the nations 
of the West. On the other hand, a time of great advance 
in power, whether scientific power over nature, or the 
power to avert evils, given by wealth and prosperity, is 
commonly a time of decline in religious feeling." From 
which would follow, that absolutism, by keeping the 
people cowed, is God's best ally. 

We prefer the testimony of Nietzsche as to Chris- 
tianity's inmost meaning and essence. A staunch advo- 
cate of fist government over the common people, he 
warned the ruling oligarchy against Christianity in its 
primitive form as their arch enemy. His rage against 
the democratizing spirit of The Carpenter betrayed him 
into heats which go beyond veracity. Nevertheless, 
despite the excess of damnatory epithet, the picture 
of primitive and essential Christianity which here fol- 
lows has truth above that drawn by Seelye. Says 
Nietzsche: "The poison of the teaching of 'equal rights 
for all,' has been spread abroad by Christianity more 
than by anything else, as a matter of principle. Chris- 
tianity has, from the most secret recesses of bad instincts, 
waged a deadly war against every sentiment of reverence 
and distance between man and man. Let us not under- 
estimate the calamity which, proceeding from Chris- 
tianity, has insinuated itself even into politics. At 
present nobody has any longer the courage for separate 
rights, for rights of domination. And if the belief in 


the privilege of the many makes revolutions, and will 
continue to make them, it is Christianity — let us not 
doubt it — it is christian valuations which translates 
every revolution merely into blood and crime. Chris- 
tianity is a revolt of all that creeps on the ground, against 
what is elevated." 

Even Seelye, when his view goes beyond the New 
Testament and takes in the scriptures as a whole, is 
compelled to state: "No book presents morals in such 
inextricable union with politics as the Bible." And 
Harnack aflBrms: "No religion, not even buddhism, 
ever went to work with such an energetic social message, 
or so strongly identified itself with the message, as we 
see to be the case with the gospel." 

But Harnack was writing of Christianity in its early 
and purest form, before it had been captured by the 
Romanists and the Hellenists. The Greek philosophers 
"improved" Christianity by emasculating the virility out 
of it. The Galilean had been a " stirrer up of the people" ; 
but at the hands of the Greeks he was pictured as a 
universal sedative, a quieter of the people. He had 
been a working man at home in the company of working- 
men; now he was domiciled in kings' houses, among those 
"which are gorgeously apparelled and live delicately." 
His "good news" had promised comfort to the oppressed, 
by doing away the oppressor; now it was presented as 
a morphine pill, numbing the sense of oppression. He 
had proclaimed a kingdom of self-respect, so easy of 
comprehension that a wayfaring man could not err 
therein; now it was transformed into a system of met- 
aphysics, so that only those trained in dialectics could 


"enter in amidst the subtleties of parables." The com- 
mon people protested, but their protestings were in 
vain. It suited the ruling class to have this cult of The 
Carpenter made over into a ritual for the learned and the 
elite. And made over it was. Onto its original sim- 
plicity and democratism was grafted a blend of monar- 
chism and metaphysics, which was declared now to be 
a very law of the Medes and Persians, unchangeable 
forever more; and the people were exhorted to "receive 
with meekness this engrafted word." Thus it came about 
that that which had been the restoration, the awakened 
life, the "joy in believing," was made into another 
burden on the backs of the people, a religion which they 
had to carry, instead of a religion that would carry 

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son 
of the morning!" 



He who was killed because "he stirreth up the peo- 
ple," remarked to his following once upon a time, "Ye 
shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you 
free"; implying that a relationship exists between a 
knowledge of facts and popular liberty. History since 
that time has abundantly confirmed the statement. Des- 
potism has been a consistent enemy of the truth-seeking 
spirit. And the reason is not far to find. A system of 
society 's organization whereby a few ride on the backs of 
the many, is so irrational on the face of it that it needs but 
to be seen to be terminated. Therefore it must not be 
seen. The people must be discouraged from peering. A 
spirit of blind acquiescence must be furthered among the 
populace. Prying eyes must be put out; and this, no 
matter what the realm toward which those prying eyes 
might be inclined to turn. For the inquisitive spirit 
itself is the perilous thing. Once let there get abroad 
among the people a mood to know the facts, say, of the 
solar system, and it would not be long before that same 
interrogation would direct itself toward the facts of the 
social system. Thinking on the part of the people at 
large is the thing " dangerous to civilized society." Mind 
ig a social explosive, and is to be used, therefore, under 



carefully regulated restrictions. An industrialism based 
on exploitation is a delicate thing at best; it will not stand 
much jarring. A society wherein a privileged class is 
separated from the toilers underneath by a thin and heav- 
ing crust, is unstable; people must be cautioned to walk 
on tiptoes. One thinker let loose in such a world, to 
look around him with the blinders off and to move about 
with the shackles off, might do harm to that crust which 
many years could not repair. Therefore all thinking 
must be done by the duly accredited agents of the Estab- 
lishment. Politics, history, economics, theology, the 
universe — these are "among the enclosed facts of life," 
and are not to be peered into by every tom, dick and 
harry. A gloss, a carefully prepared commentary, 
must be laid over these departments of knowledge; and 
the people must be trained to look at them only 
through the interpretation that has been handed down. 
Accordingly we find the Church suppressing every 
tendency to independence of thought. For this "Holy" 
Roman Empire, let it be emphasized, was naught but 
Rome's old empire of property, with religious sanctions 
added to it as a sort of ghostly police. Intimidation 
by means of **the greater anathema" had been found 
more effective than the former method of intimi- 
dation by armed cohorts. Soldiery can work upon the 
people only from the outside, and is mechanical at best. 
But the church, with its awe-inspiring liturgy and its 
infinite reserves of damnation, kept fear alive in every 
heart — it beat down the seditious prompting whilst 
it was yet but a thought and ere it had come to birth in 
deed. Moreover, soldiery operates on the people only 


at fitful intervals. But the ghostly intimidation was re- 
duced to a routinary system, at work continuously week 
by week, and even day by day. It was framed so as to 
connect with every detail of life, and reached the people 
by a net-work of multitudinous arms. The master class, 
whose sleep had long been broken by alarms of insurrec- 
tion, had found at last a salve against a return of the gob- 
lin night visitors. 

This partnership between the oligarchy and the priest- 
hood was not a new departure for the Roman state. The 
empire when it became "Holy" carried the principle 
more thorough goingly into effect; but the principle itself 
had been known in Rome from earliest times. Her 
financiers had been too shrewd not to perceive the ad- 
vantage which comes when the Pilate party and the 
Caiaphas party work in partnership against the "stir- 
rers-up of the people." The patrician class in Rome had 
early taken the precaution of keeping the oflSce of pon- 
tifix maximus in their hands. This "supreme priest" 
had his oflScial residence beside the bridge crossing the 
Tiber. The office carried with it large revenues. It 
was moreover a post of influence. By declaring that the 
auguries were unfavourable, the pontiff was able at any 
time to stop public business. Julius Csesar had signalized 
his entrance upon public life by securing his election — 
through a prodigal expenditure of funds — to this office. 
Julius the Dictator, in the office of pope of Rome and 
wearing the high-priestly robe, must have caused a smile 
on many a countenance. He performed his duties as 
head of the college of pontiffs with a broad grin; for he 
was frankest of the frank, and declared — to his pals — 


his cynicism toward the legends on which reposed the 
organized religion of the day. 

The difference, therefore, between the Roman Empire 
and the "Holy" Roman Empire, was one of degree and 
not of kind. Under the former, the imperator of the le- 
gions had been chief, and the pontiff his auxiliary. Under 
the second the pontiff was chief, and the imperator in the 
subordinate position. In both cases, protection of the 
privileged class in their favoured position atop of the 
masses, was the aim. In the earlier empire a coterie 
of millionaires in Rome with the emperor at their 
head, dictated the policy of the State. In the "Holy" 
Empire the propertied class was either ecclesiastical, such 
as the priest-princes had been in Jerusalem, or they were 
secular lords in closest coalition with the priest power. 
"Loyalty to the king, obedience to the church," was 
now the two-fold slogan wherewith the minds of the peo- 
ple were flailed into submission. 

The extent to which the church became a partner in 
the economic oppression of the day, attracted attention 
even at the time. Said Bishop Alvaro Pelayo — perhaps 
turning king's evidence through failure to get his share 
of the spoils: "Whenever I entered the apartments of 
the Roman court clergy, I found them occupied in count- 
ing up the gold coin which lay about the room in heaps." 
We are certified: There were vast crowds of placemen, 
and still greater ones of aspirants for place. The suc- 
cessful occupant of the pontificate had thousands of 
offices to give away — offices from many of which the 
incumbents had been remorselessly ejected; many had 
been created for purposes of sale. The integrity and 


capacity of an occupant were seldom inquired into; the 
points considered were, What services has he rendered, 
or can render, to the party? How much can he pay for 
the preferment? The church degenerated into an instru- 
ment for financial aggrandizement. Vast sums were 
collected in Italy; vast sums were drawn under all 
manner of pretences from surrounding and reluctant 
countries. The policy of the Byzantine court had 
given to Christianity a paganized form. With this 
great extension there had come to the christian party 
political influence and wealth. No insignificant portion 
of the vast public revenues found their way into the 
treasuries of the church. In the West, such were the 
temptations of riches, luxury, and power presented by the 
episcopate, that the election of a bishop was often de- 
graded by frightful murders. William of Malmesbury 
gives a picture of the partnership that existed: "Their 
nobles, devoted to gluttony and voluptuousness, never 
visited the church, but the matins and the mass were read 
over to them by a hurrying priest in their bedchambers 
before they rose, themselves not listening. The common 
people were a prey to the more powerful, their property 
was seized, their bodies dragged away to distant countries; 
their maidens were either thrown into a brothel or sold 
for slaves." 

To suppose, therefore, that the persecutions which 
science suffered at the hands of the "Holy" Empire were 
prompted by zeal for orthodoxy, is to forget the economic. 
Bruno, Copernicus, Galileo, and their compeers were 
" stirrers-up of the people," by awakening in them an inde- 
pendent mind, a mood of interrogation; therefore they 


were dangerous to property. Not fear for orthodoxy 
but fear for their revenues awoke the sleuth hounds of the 
Inquisition. Thirty- two thousand burnings at the stake! 
Mere ardour for ideas shall not explain a holocaust of that 
dimension. It is only when the pocket nerve is touched 
that a reaction is evidenced on a scale so widespread and 
with so murderous a malignity. Intellectual disputa- 
tions often develop bad feeling; a heated contestant may 
in some moment of passion resort even to physical vio- 
lence. But when the fagot is adopted as an instrument 
of state, when the fires of the burning light up half a 
continent and are rekindled with grim regularity for the 
space of a hundred years, let the beholder know that 
dividends and not doctrines are behind the scenes and 
pulling the strings. Powerful material interests felt 
themselves threatened by the "damnable and pestilent 
heresies " of the Galileo crowd. Therefore their anathema 
of the heretics — "falsa, impia, scandalosa!" Therefore 
the Index, the Inquisitorial Board at Rome, the torture 
chamber, and the nightly fires of burning. 

The murders of the Inquisition often had money as 
their direct object, for the property of the burned person 
was confiscated and went to the authorities who did the 
burning. The Roman Empire at its old tricks ! It had 
been a customary procedure under the Cfesars for a vic- 
torious faction to enrich itself by pricking for pro- 
scription the names of people who had accumulated some 
wealth, and after they were put to death, calmly annex- 
ing the dead men 's fortunes. Herod as we saw had fol- 
lowed this method in Palestine, even to the extent of 
searching the coffins of his victims. So now, it is 


written: As time went on, this practice of the In- 
quisition became more and more atrocious. Torture 
was resorted to on mere suspicion. The accused was not 
allowed to know the name of his accuser. He was not 
permitted to have any legal adviser. There was no appeal. 
The Inquisition was ordered not to lean to pity. No 
recantation was of avail. The innocent family of the 
accused was deprived of its property by confiscation; 
half went to the papal treasury, half to the Inquisition. 
Life only, said Innocent III, was to be left to the 
sons of unbelievers, and that merely as an act of 
mercy. The consequence was that popes, such as 
Nicholas III, enriched their families through plun- 
der acquired by this tribunal. Inquisitors did the 
same habitually. 

When the Roman Empire had defended her revenues by 
her military arm, she safe-guarded and developed that 
arm to the full; no expense that promised to strengthen 
her soldiery was deemed excessive, no danger threaten- 
ing its efficiency was deemed small. Now, with the pre- 
fix of the "Holy" to her title, her means of intimidation 
had changed to spiritual police. Therefore she spared 
no pains to build up this new defence — ritual and 
dogma. "The faith once delivered," became Rome's 
policy of state. Revenues depended on the preservation 
of "the faith;" therefore it must be preserved at any cost. 
Were there inquisitive minds who whispered that this 
"faith once delivered" was a system of cunningly de- 
vised fables put together by Greek philosophers? Such 
whisperers were dangerous. They were "pestilent gain- 
say ers," and must be attended to with rack and fagot. 


To know the truth would make the people free; therefore 
they must not know. Knowledge was put under the 
ban. "Restless spirits and impious heretics" were met 
with the thumb-screw, the stretching rope, and the boot- 

The faintest show of an independent turn of mind puts 
in motion straightway all the enginery of torture. Bruno 
is sentenced to be killed, "as mercifully as possible, and 
without the shedding of blood" — a ghastly euphemism, 
signifying death by burning. Copernicus can present 
his discovery to the world only by the resort of a grovel- 
ling apology (so that he cries from his tombstone, " give 
me only the favour which Thou didst show to the thief 
on the cross"). Thus he grovelled: "I, Galileo, being 
in my seventieth year, being a prisoner and on my knees, 
and before your eminence, having before my eyes the 
holy gospel which I touch with my hands, abjure, 
curse, and detest the error and the heresy of the 
movement of the earth." The Consistory of Stutt- 
gart warns Kepler "not to throw christ's kingdom 
into confusion with his silly fancies." Kepler must 
outwardly conform; but to himself he stoutly af- 
firms; "I do think the thoughts of God." In Alex- 
andria, Cyril whets the mob against Hypatia; they 
tear her corpse asunder, and with shells scrape the 
flesh from her bones. 

Because it contributes to overawe the populace, those 
teachers of theology are encouraged who portray nature 
as an enginery of terror, safety from which can be found 
only under the roof of Mother Church. Accordingly 
the lightnings are seen as the flaming spears of God; the 


tornado is the blast of his anger; the earthquake is the 
stamping of his rage; comets are fireballs flung from his 
hand. Goodman Voigt denounces as "atheists and epi- 
cureans" all who refuse to see in comets the warrings 
of an angry God. Not that the parish priests proclaim- 
ing these views were insincere. But preachers of this 
type were subconsciously pleasing to the moneyed lords, 
and were hired: so that a natural process of selection 
filled the pulpit with men trained to walk in the " paths 
of scriptural science and sound learning" — the same 
selective process by which pulpits in the South, in ante- 
bellum days, came to be occupied at last only by men 
who sincerely viewed slavery as a divinely ordained insti- 
tution. Accordingly, Andreas of Magdeburg expounds: 
"Whoever would know the comet's real source and 
nature must not merely gape and stare at the scien- 
tific theory that it is an earthy, greasy, tough, and 
sticky vapour." By no means. For a comet is nothing 
other than "the thick smoke of human sins, rising 
every day, every hour, every moment, full of stench 
and horror, before the face of God, and becoming 
gradually so thick as to form a comet with curled 
and plaited tresses, which at last is kindled by 
the hot and fiery anger of the Supreme Heavenly 

So sealed and ratified was the alliance between Chris- 
tianity and the master class, that the theology of the day 
regarded lords and princes as the special object of na- 
ture's attention; nature for instance sent a comet to fore- 
token the death of a prince. Goodman Scalinger essayed 
to expoimd it rationally: "Comets menace princes and 



kings with death, because they live more deHcately than 
other people; and therefore the air, thickened and cor- 
rupted by a comet, would be naturally more injurious to 
them than to common folk who live on common food/* 
And Reinzer brings to it an even weightier anatomi- 
cal lore, Says he: "Comets can indirectly, in view of 
their material, betoken wars, tumults, and the death 
of princes; for, being hot and dry, they bring the 
moistnesses in the human body to an extraordinary 
heat and dryness, increasing the gall; and, since 
the emotions depend on the temperature and condition 
of the body, men are through this change driven 
to violent deeds, quarrels, disputes, and finally to 
arms: especially is this the result with princes, who 
are more delicate and also more arrogant than other 
men and whose moistnesses are more liable to inflam- 
mation of this sort, inasmuch as they live in luxury and 
seldom restrain themselves from those things which, 
in such a dry state of the heavens, are especially 

To which, good old Pierre Bayle, that upstanding and 
understanding democrat, made reply: "The more we 
study man, the more does it appear that pride is his 
ruling passion, and that he affects grandeur even in his 
misery. Mean and perishable creature that he is, he 
has been able to persuade men that he cannot die without 
disturbing the whole course of nature and obliging 
the heavens to put themselves to fresh expense 
in order to light his funeral pomp. Foolish and 
ridiculous vanity! If we had a just idea of the 
universe, we should soon comprehend that the death 


or birth of a prince is too insignificant a matter to stir 
the heavens." 

But the Peter Bayles were few. So that the masque- 
rade went on full merrily. Pope Calixtus succeeded in 
excommunicating the comet, and made the church awe- 
struck thereby. So much so, that the good people of 
Thonon, afflicted by a plague of flies, set on foot a petition 
to the Sancte Pater Omnipotens, for a similiar relief. 
Spread on its municipal register we find: "Resolved 
that this town join with other parishes of this province 
in obtaining from Rome an excommunication against the 
insects, and that it will contribute pro rata to the ex- 
penses of the same." To which we are entitled to remark, 
that if Thonon and her neighbouring parishes had been 
willing to contribute a sufficient amount "to the expenses 
of the same," they could have obtained excommunications 
and decretals in any quantity desired. 

Machiavelli blabbed the truth of it all. This Florentine 
was immeasurably impressed with the sagacity of Rome 
in prefixing the "Holy" to its title, and in strutting about 
in robes of sanctity. He sought to reduce this kind 
of statecraft to a science. Therefore he enumerated 
as traits which a prince should — "seem to" — have: 
"Charity, integrity, and humanity, all uprightness and 
all piety. And more than all else is it necessary for a 
prince to seem to possess the last quality." And he 
drives his point home: "It is not necessary for a prince 
to possess all the above mentioned qualities; but it is 
essential that he should at least seem to have them. I 
will even venture to say that to have and practise them 


constantly is pernicious, but to seem to have them is 

In Malmesbury 's chronicle, we find that the Mach- 
iavellian counsels were operative. In his description 
of Edgar, who signed himself, " King by the bountiful 
grace of God," we read: "The rigour of Edgar's jus- 
tice was equal to the sanctity of his manners, so that he 
permitted no person, be his dignity what it might, to 
elude the laws with impunity. In his time there was no 
private thief, no public freebooter, unless such as chose to 
risk the loss of life for their attacks upon the property 
of others." By which was meant that the common peo- 
ple must not fish in the streams, or poach on the game 
preserves of the aristocracy, not even kill the game 
that destroyed their crops. Those game preserves had 
formerly been public land, the "commons," whereon 
the peasants had grazed their geese and the family cow. 
But the lords fenced in the commons as their private 
possession. And now, let a peasant be caught hunting 
there or fishing in the once public streams, and he was 
visited forthwith by "the rigour of Edgar's justice." 
Let it be indicated what that "rigour" for impious "at- 
tacks upon the property of others," was, remembering 
meanwhile that it could be for the offence of stealing a 
sheep for his starving family : The peasant found guilty 
was put to death, in order to warn his fellows of the hein- 
ousness of the crime. His eyes were put out, his ears 
torn off, his nostrils slit, and his hands and feet cut off; 
thereupon his scalp was torn from his head, and the 
peasant was left in this condition to be gnawed to death 
by the birds and beasts of prey. Through it all Edgar 


preserved "the sanctity of his manners." We are a 
bit inclined to side with the peasants in their piteous 

The law makes that man a felon. 
Who steals a goose from the common; 
But leaves the greater felon loose. 
Who steals a common from the goose. 

Our indictment therefore stands. The Roman Empire 
both before it took to itself the prefix "Holy" and after- 
ward, was the same — an empire of human merchandise. 
Resting on an economic wrong, it felt its foundations 
rocking perilously beneath it. To preserve the unstable 
equilibrium and to allay its palpitations, the empire 
through its first thousand years kept the toiling masses 
intimidated by means of soldiery. Through its second 
thousand years it kept those toilers intimidated by means 
of "Christianity." We have been taught to regard this 
second period as " the age of faith." But the pious phrase 
does not stand up beneath the inquisitorial gaze of to-day. 
Historical science in an age of democracy has a way of 
peering under the surface; and instead of an " age of faith," 
it sees the "Holy" Roman Empire as an age of exploita- 
tion — industrial slavery enforced by a ghostly terrorism. 
History is past economics; economics is present history. 
The Roman Empire, in its "Holy" as in its non-Holy 
period, was motived by one motive: the organized self- 
interest of the few perpetuating itself at the expense of 
the unorganized self-interest of the many. 

The conclusion is irresistible: much of the history of 
theology shows it to have been a halter-weight on progress 


— humanity has got forward with that millstone dragging 
at the bit. "The church," says Macaulay, "was the 
servile handmaid of monarchy, and the steady enemy of 
public liberty." 

"So I returned, and considered all the oppressions 
that are done under the sun; and behold, the tears of such 
as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the 
side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no 


Like individuals, institutions also upon crying out 
"remember not against me the sins of my youth," 
have a right to a new start. The church to-day is seek- 
ing to put away the badness and the sadness of so much of 
her past, and to get right once more with the working 
class. For that at present she sickens with a real sickness, 
is acknowledged by none more candidly than herself. 
"What must I do to be saved?" is her cry. A mood 
of self-diagnosis is upon her. 

One set of her physicians propose exercise — the 
patient is not active enough. She has the machinery 
that is needful; all that is required is to run it at higher 
speed. A programme of more determined evangelism 
is proposed. The large and increasing multitude of the 
world's workers are not coming into the church; there- 
fore she must go out and compel them to come in. "We 
must draw them into the gospel net." But the efiForts 
of this school, though sincere, lack convincing power. 
The attempt has smacked of the artificial, the machine- 
made. Says one of the church leaders, himself a member 
of the revivalist wing and an ardent sympathizer: "The 
more recent type of evangelism retains few, if any, fea- 
tures of this older school, while it has certain unmistak- 



able marks of its own. It is attended with extensive 
organization, elaborate preparation, expensive outlay, 
studied notoriety, display of statistics, newspaper adver- 
tising and systematic pufl&ng, spectacular sensationalism, 
dramatic novelties." From which it is evident that 
emotional stampeding of the multitudes is not meeting 
with the success which stamps it as an elemental move- 
ment. There is a feel that the work of the christian to- 
day is to be something other than driving a gospel wagon. 

Another set of physicians prescribe the institutional 
church, and departments of civic and social extension. 
These are being tried. But here also without signal 
success. The institutional church provides wholesome rec- 
reation for the young, and thereby is doing good. But 
it is proving powerless to unlock the interior chambers of 
the soul, where alone are the springs of power. As to 
ecclesiastically supervised civic and social bureaus, there 
is a something of amateurishness about them, and the 
suspicion of an ulterior motive. A "Department of 
Church and Labour" has to the working class a squint 
of evangelism by indirection. They see in these in- 
novations the church still "fishing for men," but with 
the bait concealed now on a snell hook — the artifice 
of an angler grown skilled by failure. 

So that the chasm between the church and industrial- 
ism is wide, and daily growing wider. On the one side 
we behold democracy sweeping forward with an elemen- 
tal sweep, as though the stars in their courses were 
fighting for her — a sweep that is making no account of 
hemispheres or oceans; so that, were one to take the 
wings of the morning and fly to the uttermost parts of 


the sea, he would find there some presence of this myste- 
riously pervasive spirit. While on the other side of the 
chasm stands the church, gropingly putting out feelers 
toward this new-born force that is in the world, and 
giving unmistakable evidences of a retreat rather than 
of an advance. 

The difficulty is, the church has not diagnosed 
her sickness deeply enough. The democracy's plaint 
against her is not against this or that detail in her 
makeup, but against the central fact which is at the heart 
of all the churches to-day, even those that style them- 
selves liberal — a heavenly despotism. Its quarrel is 
with that first-person-of-the-trinity doctrine, which the 
church has made the alphabet of all her thinking. 
For a benign paternalism flows copiously from that 
dogma. The democracy, even where it has not analyzed 
it out, feels subconsciously that benevolent absolutism 
is its arch foe. Therefore we find leaders of the social 
democracy stating openly and with uttermost stress that 
the idea of "God" — as they name this first person in 
the trinity — is the enemy which must be attacked first 
of all. Says one of them: "We open war upon God, 
because he is the greatest evil in the world." Still an- 
other: "God is dying without posterity; the terrestrial 
despot will drag down in his fall the celestial bug- 
bear." Karl Marx was of them. And said Bak- 
unin: "The idea of God must be destroyed; it is 
the cornerstone of a perverted civilization." And still 
another affirms: "The beginning of all those lies which 
have ground down the poor world in slavery, is God." 


We have seen that this antagonism extends not to Jesus; 
for the Carpenter of Nazareth is becoming more popular 
with the working classes every day. 

The antagonism of the democracy to the doctrine of 
the "first person of the trinity," though not clearly 
thought through in every case, falls largely into three 
classes: First, that the doctrine is unscriptural; second 
that it is untrue; third, that it makes for economic and 
political despotism. 

As to the first, it is being conceded to-day by scholars — 
notably those of the Ritschlian school — that the idea 
of a Theos, an Absolute, a Creator calling the universe 
into being out of nothing, is not to be found in the Bible; 
it is a Greek rather than a Palestinian idea. The Semitic 
mind was practical, not metaphysical. It cared more 
for the goal toward which the world was tending, than 
for the source from which it had sprung. There is no 
word in the Hebrew language to mean the creation of 
something out of nothing. 

It is true, there are in the scriptures many expressions 
implying direct divine intervention in the order of nature. 
But these references are to be interpreted in the light 
of their view of the cosmos as something small and me- 
chanically operated. Jerusalem was the capital of the 
universe. To the Palestinian mind — and this was as 
true in the time of The Carpenter as before, and for a 
thousand years after him — the sky was a solid fir- 
mament a few miles above the earth, and supported by 
the corners of the earth, the "pillars of heaven." Atop 
Ihereof were "the waters which were above the firma- 


ment,** contained, as one commentator said, in a cistern 
shaped "like a bathing tank." This water fell down in 
the form of rain when "the windows of heaven" were 
opened. The sun was pulled across underneath the sky 
during the day; it was pushed into a pit at night; there- 
upon it was dragged around to the other side and pulled 
up in the morning. The stars were lamps hung out 
from the floor of heaven at night, and gathered in each 
morning — " the stars shall fall from heaven, " was in 
that day easily understandable. Heaven was earth's 
upper story. Hell was the cellar. This is why the 
sailors with Columbus feared to voyage too far beyond 
the Pillars of Hercules, lest they come to the edge of the 
world and pitch headlong. We see it also in Dante: 
"Why is the sun so red in the evening?" "Because he 
looketh down upon hell." References in scripture, there- 
fore, to divine control over this piece of mechanism called 
nature — such as, " he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and 
on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the 
unjust" — are more comparable to man's growing mastery 
of nature through the methods of modern science, than they 
are to the notion of divine wizard- work imbedded in the 
theology which has come to us from Greek metaphysics. 
Christianity on its westward way from Palestine had 
to cross the land of Greece. In so doing it absorbed the 
idea of God as a Theos, an Absolute, the First Cause. 
The democracy is suspicious of the motives that were 
back of this transformation. Under Palestine's low-arch- 
ing sky, God and the people were but a few miles apart. 
This sense of physical nearness had bred a sense of per- 
sonal nearness, which was distinctly bad for the purposes 


of the exploiter. It may be set down as a mathematical 
formula: Human servitude is in proportion to the inter- 
val between man and God, increasing as the square of 
the distance. 

The tower of Babel narrative is pertinent. "A 
tower whose top may reach unto heaven" — there is 
the measure of the size of the universe back in Bible 
times. This discount must always be computed in 
reading both the Old and New Testaments. It shocked 
no one in his day, therefore, when Jesus pictured the 
lord of heaven as "Father Abraham." "Abraham is 
our father," was the word of pious Jews everywhere. 
Jesus himself felt poignantly his ancestral connection, 
and used fondly the pronoun "my" in referring to this 
father in heaven. The popular term, even now, "Abra- 
ham's Bosom," by which to designate heaven as a whole, 
is scriptural through and through. "Jesus answered 
them, Is it not written in your law I said, Ye are gods? " 
Jesus was not a theist. Writes Hamack: "The pic- 
ture of the life and discourses of Jesus, stands in no re- 
lation with the Greek spirit. That he Was ever in 
touch with Plato or the Porch is absolutely impossible 
to maintain." To those who loved him, it seemed no 
sacrilege on the part of The Carpenter when he assumed 
the godhead. Earth and heaven were so close together 
in Palestine in that day that a man of vigorous spirit 
could be thought of as stepping from one to the other, 
without putting the imagination out of joint. From 
Jacob's Ladder, in Genesis — see also the narrative of 
Elijah ascending to heaven in a chariot of fire — clear 
through to John's vision on Patmos wherein he saw 


heaven opening to him like a curtain or scroll rolled 
back — the Bible as a whole cannot be understood except 
by taking the Tower of Babel as a measuring rod where- 
with to compute the then psychological distance between 
earth and sky. 

Therefore the democracy to-day, in rejecting the 
Greek interpolation of the trinity and its metaphysical 
subtleties into the christian system, believes that it is 
building on strictest Biblical science. In taking the 
heaven of The Carpenter as its God, it does not feel itself 
to be atheistic, but rather to be placing itseK in the same 
spiritual atmosphere in which the Bible folk lived, and 
in which that book was written — the atmosphere further- 
more in which Christianity was cradled. The Not- 
ourselves an Industrialist — there is a theology accept- 
able to the democracy; and it is a theology founded on 
exact scriptural science. "Unto us a child is bom, 
unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon 
his shoulders; and his name shall be called Wonderful, 
Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, 
The Prince of Peace." 

Not only does the democracy to-day believe the "first 
person of the trinity" idea to be unbiblical. In the 
second place it believes it to be untrue. The universe 
does not show evidence of operating in a fatherly fashion. 
They who think by prayer and ritual to change the course 
of the elements, think foolishly. Nature cares naught 
for man. Her terrific forces crush saint and sinner with 
serene impartiality. That man has lived shelteredly 
who has not been out in some night storm wherein he 


has exclaimed, as was exclaimed to Lear: "Here's a 
night pities neither wise men nor fools.*' Nature coddles 
no one. Her hand is red with millions of years of mur- 
der — enough of crimson to incarnadine all the seas of 
eternity. A Galveston flood sticks out its tongue against 
an entire city and licks it flat; and the inundation 
devours the good as well as the bad. The lightnings 
turn not aside for church buildings. Tornadoes are 
not immoral — they are unmoral. The Iroquois fire 
in Chicago, dealing out undiscriminating destruction, 
has put many a once placid mind to serious query. Prob- 
ably the Messina earthquake broke up the theological 
placidity of even a greater number. 

Says one wrestler, face to face with the Messina puzzle: 
"Did God by a special act of will choose to push the slid- 
ing of the earth's crust along a fault which he had pur- 
posely created along a strait between Etna and Strom- 
boli, close by two populous cities, which he knew men 
would build; and did he choose to have the earthquake 
come just when the inhabitants were in their beds, and 
when the destruction of life would be greatest, just 
when and where it would do the greatest evil? That 
is not easy to believe. It is easier to believe that the 
good God does and must govern his universe by stable 
laws. Then can God interrupt the course of nature to 
accommodate us, or in answer to our weak and incon- 
sistent prayers? If not, where goes the doctrine of 
special providence? Here are more antinomies than 
we can explain." Another wrestler, who had formerly 
stood as a leader of the modern theistic school, is com- 
pelled by the Messina event to exclaim: "The chris- 


tian is an agnostic. He does not attempt to solve the riddle 
of the universe." Messina confronts the theistic wing of 
christian doctrine with an uncomfortable alternative; 
because their Absolute, being all-powerful, was able to 
have averted the Messina earthquake had he so wished; 
or else he did not wish to avert it; in which case, why 
the murder of hundreds, many of whom knew not their 
right hand from their left? Avoiding Scylla, they run 
upon Charybdis. Upon the horns of that dilemma, 
the theistic school is left. Homer, by the way, located 
his Scylla and Charybdis precisely at the straits of 
Messina, where the mariner is beset on one side by 
the whirling tide, and on the other by the jagged rocks 
of the coast. "In sober truth," exclaims Mill, "nearly 
all the things which men are hanged or imprisoned 
for doing to one another, are nature's every-day per- 
formance." So that intelligent theists to-day admit 
their despair of explaining the catastrophes of nature — 
emulating herein the resignation of the Hindus, who 
regard the presence of the English in their country as, 
"uncomfortable, unaccountable works of God." Theism 
has been reduced to "A Grand Perhaps." 

The democracy's view of the universe is free from 
these intellectual bafflements. Its god is the in- 
dustrial Not-ourselves, captain of the workers in 
their march of conquest over nature. The fight to 
subjugate the universe is a real fight. The casualties 
attest it. Industrial accidents — half a million killings 
every year; workmen tattooed with scars! — these give 
it the look of a real battle-field. However, man is not 
alone in the fight; therefore he endures the tug and strain. 


It is of infinite comfort to the industrial army to have 
One as their leader who was himself an industrialist. 
He is a worker along with the workers, a sufferer with 
the sufferers, a rejoicer with the rejoicers. Humanity's 
march across the centuries is a Via Dolorosa ; but One is 
marching with the marchers, and leaves some of his 
blood also in the footprints. He is a fellow striver. 
Nature is not subdued; but she is subduable. And that 
is all that brave men require. The chaos in front is 
as yet unmapped. But with the Great Companion, man 
has heart for the journey. There is no road ahead. But 
road-making is humanity's vocation. The fact that his 
feet are treading where no feet have trod, gives zest 
to the traveller, the zest of discovery, the joy of explo- 
ration; there is tingle as one climbs a peak inDarien. 
Nature is civilization's raw material. She is a wild horse 
as yet unbacked, and gives its tamer many a bruise. But, 
better so than a horse that will stand without hitching. 
Man is not nature's darling. Nature will yield only to 
one stronger than she; and a chain bit will be needed to 
the end — they who think to ride her on the snaffle 
ride for a fall. 

Stark was ever the sea. 

But our ships were yet more stark. 

Only as an eternity of conquest can the prospect of 
life in endless duration have charm for red-blooded 
folk. It is here that Milton's art failed — he was unable 
to make heaven interesting. But his Satan is inter- 
esting — the reader finds him a magnetic personality. 
And for this reason: the heaven against which Milton's 


Satan revolts is abysmally dull, an eternity of do-nothing- 
ness, presided over by a do-nothing Absolute. Wrote 
Richard Wagner: "That God was doomed by art. 
Jehovah in the fiery bush, or even the reverend Father 
with the snow-white beard who looked down from out 
the clouds in blessing on his Son, could say but little 
to the believing soul, however masterly the artist's 
hand." When Christianity was transformed into a 
religion for the sabbath day only — the note of industrial- 
ism lost out of it — her notion of heaven became Sab- 
batarian likewise: "Every day will be Sunday by and 
by." Its heaven is one long liturgical service. A 
choir of white-robed, elderly men singing hymns, would 
become a bit bromidic after a few weeks. No hotter 
hell is thinkable than to spend eternity in a place that 
is uninteresting. 

There is an increasing conviction among trained intel- 
lects that the Whence of the infinite and eternal energy 
out of which the universe has been spun, is by its very 
nature shrouded from knowledge. To-day the founda- 
tions of the earth are indeed being discovered; but they 
are economic foundations. Not the world's Whence 
but the world's Whither, is man's concern. We have 
the universe on our hands. The workingman instinct 
everywhere is to take nature as raw material, and domi- 
nate it into some form of use and beauty. A suppliant 
attitude toward the cosmos, such as is preached by 
theism, is deemed by the world's workers unmanful. 
Work people live at close grips with the powers of nature. 
The daily tug and wrestle have disciplined them to look 
those powers in the face. Nature is the legitimate field 


for the play of man's instinctive combativeness and battle 
ardour. He is called upon to turn toward her a coun- 
tenance of confident mastership, unblenched by super- 
stitious fears. Man to-day is peering to the flaming wall 
of the universe, and he is finding naught anywhere which 
may not be mastered by a man who is master of himself. 
Theism is a religion fundamentally of cravenness and 
supplication: but democracy is the religion of man's 
communal mastership over nature — a mastership, 
moreover, that cannot know any last outpost of per- 
fection. For the universe is never adult; it is always 
adolescent. Its evolutionary potencies can never be 

But the democracy rejects the "first person of the 
trinity" idea for still a third reason, namely, that it makes 
for despotism. That the idea is unscriptural, coming 
not from Palestine but from the outworn imaginations 
of Greek metaphysics, would tell weightily against it. 
That it is also untrue — theism a freak of the imagina- 
tion — would tell more damagingly still. But that it 
plays direct into the hands of the exploiting class is an 
indictment most damnatory of all : it is her entanglement 
with theism that has given to Christianity her fatal 
warp and bias toward an aristocratic scheme of things. 

The democracy supports this third count in the indict- 
ment with many proofs. We have seen that theology 
has an economic basis. Religious doctrine is not some- 
thing that can be kept in an air-tight compartment and 
isolated from the world of affairs — its very isolation in 
that case makes it powerfully operative on the life of 


the world by withdrawing from that Hfe many who 
would otherwise have participated in it. A religion that 
sits loose to the drama of daily life does not cease 
thereby to have a part — even though but a comedy part — 
in that drama. Theology has a way of translating itself 
into economic magnitudes, and this is particularly so 
with the most stupendous doctrine that ever sought 
to impose itself upon the human mind — the doctrine, 
namely, that the physical universe is ruled over by a 
personage who created it, owns it, and personally runs 
it. Put a boss at the top of the universe, and the idea 
of bossism will trickle down into every human relation- 
ship. Subserviency to an absolute ruler in the skies, 
how beneficent soever that ruler may be, paves the way 
for subserviency to an absolute ruler upon earth. For 
it puts a crook in the knee and a habitude of dependence 
in the soul, which is fatal to that upstanding type of man 
which democracy requires. On the other hand a fra- 
ternal relationship between God and man, in which 
the former is man's elder brother, is an education in self- 
respect, and makes an earthly despot impossible. This 
is why the Bible, motived as it was by democratism — 
that is, by self-respect — stressed the likeness between 
God and man; they are both in the same image. God 
is portrayed as only a man of larger, wiser frame. "Come 
now, and let us reason together," is his way of addressing 
man; and, "Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I 
will speak unto thee." "Thy God hath commanded 
\hy strength." "I have not called you servants; I have 
called you friends." But when Christianity was an- 
nexed by the Roman Empire, this elder-brother attitude 


was done away. Modelling after Rome's idea of the 
absoluteness of the emperor, God was pictured as a par- 
ental tyrant, issuing ipse dixits and responsible only to 

That the term "Father" is the final word in nomen- 
clature whereby the Power-not-ourselves shall be known, 
is an untenable assertion. Differing ages have known 
the Most High under differing titles. Now an age of in- 
dustriaUsm is broadening across the world. Therefore, 
if the Unseen is to become a factor in workshop affairs, it 
is quite conceivable that a more energetic and industrial 
term will be devised for him than is connoted in "Father." 
That title has tangency only with the home or with a 
national life patriarchaUy originated ("Father Abraham " 
seems to have generated the term as Jesus used it) and 
suggests no celestial participation in the world's work, 
where sustaining idealisms from Above are precisely the 
most needed. 

Alteringly the spirit of democracy is laying its touch 
upon all things. By it, fatherhood in the human family 
is transfiguring into elder-brotherhood; and with benefi- 
cent results. Alphonse Daudet was a big brother to his 
boy, and an attachment arose between them which is one 
of the beautiful scenes of all time. The rule obtains : the 
paternal relation is a divisive force, but fraternalism is 
a cement everywhere. It was not by accident that 
the most consistent development of the "father" idea 
took place in Rome, whose name is synonomous with 
despotism. Her patrician class coveted to hold toward 
the common people the stand-oflSsh relationship. There- 
fore they called themselves-the "fathers" of the people 


— "paternal," pater, patrician. They "patronized" the 
plebs. It is needless to add that their "guardianship '* 
of the people came to have a strong smell — so much so, 
in fact, that tribunes had to be instituted to protect 
the plebs from their constitutional "fathers." There 
has been no state in which the "father" idea was more 
thorough-goingly worked out than Rome; and no state 
was more absolutist over the people. Her law gave to 
the father the power of life and death over his family. 
And it was the development of this "father" spirit 
which made the Roman Empire the most deliberate 
and aggressive despotism known in the chronicles 
of man. 

In every society there will be the wise and the unwise, 
the firm and the unfirm; and there will ever be need for 
the wise and the firm to bring their strength to bear upon 
the unwise and unfirm segment of the population. But 
all that is worth while in this relationship of helpfulness 
is conserved in the elder-brother attitude. What goes 
beyond this is not helpfulness but something else, a 
hankering to use those younger brothers for private 
ends. No person ever lived who needed a father ever 
him; but all need an elder brother over them. A demo- 
cratic organization of society would have afforded Rome's 
wiser set full opportunity for serviceableness to the 
less favoured members of the state. But service- 
ableness was not the organizing principle of Rome's 
patriciate. Those "conscript fathers" were swayed 
by the prides of life — pride of power, pride of opinion, 
pride of place. They developed the "patron" idea, 
because it gave them a position above and on the backs 


of the people. Fatherhood! — with Rome once entered 
upon that terrific pathway, a course beyond all turning, 
there was but one terminus ahead — a Tiberius, a Nero, a 
Caligula. For the patricians, separated from the people 
by that artificial, "pater" distinction, drew off by them- 
selves into irresponsible power, self-gratification, moral 
rot. The plebs also, bereaved of self-respect by this 
"patronizing" relationship, drifted from manliness and 
self-reliance; they came to accept bounty from their 
patrons, and licked the hand that fed them. Rome be- 
came a state of rulers and rabble, both equally miserable, 
equally ignoble. The patron — pater — relationship is 
bad .at both ends, hardening the patronizer and softening 
the patronized. When the Roman Empire, by its 
annexation of Christianity, became "holy," its sovereign 
saw the possibilities which are in that "pater" idea for 
purposes of oppression; therefore he styled himself the 
"papa" of the people. And the Czar — Caesar — of 
Russia to this day cherishes the nickname, "Little 

A benevolent tyrant is the worst tryant, for he makes 
the tyranny endurable. Because philanthropic abso- 
lutism has been exalted into a theological system and 
exerts its seductions upon the mind of the people from 
the very go-cart, there is noticeable to-day a resurgence 
of favour toward the idea of a despotism motived by 
good intentions. Under the forms of freedom, a feu- 
dalism quite as complete as in the days of the barons is 
threatened. A retainer of the modern seigniorial system 
refers to the lowly, "whose welfare is more thoroughly 
conserved when governed than when governing." The 


string is being so persistently harped that even the elect 
are seduced, and we hear from the lips of one of them: 
"Theoretically, absolutism may be the best government" : 
which, to the democracy, is the heresy of heresies. The- 
oretically and actually, absolutism is the worst govern- 
ment. And the better it is, the worse it is for humanity. 
Absolutism presupposes intense activity on the part of 
a few, and passivity on the part of the many. The 
consciousness of subjection to an irresponsible power, 
how benign soever that power may be, tells fatally on 
self-respect, and therefore on human achievement. That 
only can help a man which stings him to selfrhelp. The 
truly redemptive eras have displayed their divineness in 
that they worked from the bottom up. 

If benevolent despotism were the acme of political 
development, Julius Csesar would be the world's christ 
and saviour. For he was benevolent. In personal char- 
acter he was of almost feminine refinement; so much so 
that he found himself ill at ease among the coarse conviv- 
ialities of his male associates, and preferred the society 
of women — to the delectation of the scandal-mongers of 
the day, so that in posterity's appraisal his private 
morals have suffered a degree of taint which does not seem 
borne out by the facts. He was essentially a student 
and an artist. Of delicate sensibility, his life ideals dur- 
ing his formative period were predominatingly aesthetic — 
to reform the popular festivals of Rome into lines of 
beauty, and to improve the architecture of her public 
buildings. He was of a kindly temperament. Journey- 
ing once with Oppius through a forest, they came at 
night to a hut where was only one bed; Oppius being 


unwell, Csesar gave up the bed to him, and slept out on 
the ground. The strain of office was so gruelling on his 
sensitively organized nature, that toward the end he 
showed symptoms of epilepsy, that sign of the destruction 
of the nervous system. Too heavy for mortal man is 
the robe of omnipotence. Before his death he had been 
heard often to remark that he had lived long enough. 
His defence against the assassins was but half-hearted, 
and he seems almost to have invited those three-and- 
twenty wounds under Pompey*s statue — he was too 
fine grained to enjoy domination over his fellows. His 
bust in the Louvre, the face hugely furrowed with 
wrinkles, is that of a man in utter exhaustion — a life 
burned out by a voltage higher than the human nerves 
are wired to carry. 

Csesar used the enormous powers of the dictatorship 
beneficently. He reformed the calendar, sought to re- 
store the wasted population of Italy, founded the first 
public library in Rome, made improvements in the State, 
and at the time of his death was planning to drain the 
Pontine marshes and pierce the Isthmus of Corinth. 
The world has not witnessed such another blend of 
absolutism and benevolence. Nevertheless under him a 
human deterioration took place. He governed so well 
that the people lost desire for government. There was 
a decay of political energies. Whilst he was breaking 
under the strain, those who had been aforetime citizens 
were softening into pulp, each on pleasure bent, the 
old Roman fibre rotted out of them. The people were 
conquered and content. And dark days set in for 
humanity, from which it has not yet recovered. 


Kings recognize the leverage which a theology of 
benevolent despotism puts into their hands. The exist- 
ence of a fatherly monarch in the heavens would, if prov- 
able, give a divine right to fatherly monarchs on earth. 
It is with insight, therefore, that kings sign themselves, 
"defenders of the faith,'* meaning by "faith" the chris- 
tian religion as transformed by the Roman Empire; 
they know that if they can defend that faith, the faith 
will defend them. Jefferson, Franklin, and the other 
leaders of the American Revolution were insurgent 
against the king, and they were equally insurgent against 
this "Christianity"; but the Tories, bitter against democ- 
racy and strong for the king, were also in large part 
active and zealous churchmen. Slavery in the South 
found one of its stoutest defenders in Buchanan — 
Buchanan perhaps the most aggressively orthodox 
believer and churchman who ever sat in the White 
House. Whereas the one who came after him, and who 
wrote the document emancipating the slaves, paired with 
Jefferson and Franklin in living his religious life outside 
of the church and outside of orthodoxy. An anthra- 
cite king has recently made an application of theistic 
theology to the industrial situation. (His angered 
fellow-barons have likened his frankness to that of a blab- 
bing idiot; but his words were not those of an idiot; they 
were words rather of cool and close logic, following out 
to its faithful conclusion the doctrine of divine pater- 
nalism taught him by the church.) Said he: "The 
rights and interests of the labouring man will be pro- 
tected and cared for not by the labour agitators, but by 
the christian men to whom God in his infinite wisdom 


has given the control of the property interests of the 
country." Nor should mere man presume to question 
the evident favouritism of this deity, for "its judgments 
are unsearchable and its ways past finding out." Not 
jocosely, but with reverence and almost with literal 
sincerity, the industrial barons take up their parable 
and exult: The Lord is my partner, I shall not want. 
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth 
me beside the still waters. He restoreth my reputation. 
He leadeth me in the paths of big philanthropies for my 
name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley 
of labour strikes and revolution, I will fear no evil. For 
thou art with me. Thy church and thy priesthood, 
they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in 
the presence of starving enemies. Thou anointest my 
tongue with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely homage 
and flattery shall follow me all the days of my life, and I 
will dwell in a big tomb hereafter. 

This is why Darwinism, wresting as it does scientific 
support from the idea of a "God the father almighty," 
and explaining the universe without him, has been her- 
alded by the democracy as a deliverer and a prophet. 
Said Karl Marx: "Nothing ever gives me greater pleas- 
ure than to have my name thus linked onto Darwin's. 
His wonderful work makes my own absolutely impreg- 
nable. Darwin may not know it, but he belongs to the 
Social Revolution." So much has the proletariat hailed 
Darwin with joy, that one of the leaders of orthodoxy 
deplores the "horrible plaudits" which "have accom- 
panied every effort to establish man's brutal descent." 
It is noticeable that the opposition to Darwinism has 


come in large part from the champions of the existing 
economic order. Carlyle is the defender of the Roman 
ideal — autocracy, fist government. He placed a Viking 
marauder above Washington and Lincoln. He saw in 
the American Civil War only "the burning out of a foul 
chimney." It is significant, therefore, that Carlyle 
coupled Darwin in the same anathema, styling him the 
"apostle of dirt worship." Writes Monseigneur Segur 
also: "These infamous doctrines [Darwin's] have for 
their only support the most abject passions. Their 
father is pride, their mother impurity, their offspring 
revolutions." Russia too has discovered the levelling 
tendency of Darwin's negation of "the father almighty." 
Wherefore her police, directed thereto by the authorities, 
refused to the University of Kief permission to take note 
of the centennial of Charles Darwin, on the grounds of 
"religious objections to the Darwinian theory." There- 
upon Russia's "Little Father" proceeds to shoot down 
2,195 unarmed work people who were approaching him 
with a petition for help in their miseries. 

Not strange, therefore, that the democracy has come 
to regard, "God the father almighty" as the rich man's 
creed, and will be satisfied only with its erasement from 
the page. It is for this reason that the so-called "Chris- 
tian Socialism" failed to grip the work class. With an 
intense human throb and a martyr spirit, the movement 
under Maurice and Kingsley nevertheless did not enlist 
to any large degree the hand workers; because, with all 
of its ardency of social passion, that movement had for 
its intellectual foundation the orthodox doctrine of a 
heavenly despot. And this neutralized aU rt§ effprt. 


Its leaders pleaded for a socialized humanity, in which 
was to be naught save brotherhood. But, back of all 
their pleading, back of all their schemes of fraternity, 
loomed the figure of a benevolent sovereign in the skies, 
giving to benevolent sovereigns upon earth a sanction 
highestly authoritative. The wage earners subcon- 
sciously detected this note in the preaching. They came 
a few times to church, sought to find the social redemp- 
tion they longed for, failed to find it, and came not again. 
' In the churches to-day is many a preacher aflame with 
social passion; and his heart is breaking because the work 
people, whom he loves with a genuine love, whose side 
he espouses with a genuine espousal, come not to his 
church. The explanation is that, even where he has 
been trained in so called "liberal'* theology, he has been 
taught to believe that "the father almighty" is the 
sine qua non of Christianity. So that the wage people 
behold in him merely one more of the patrician — the 
pater — class, seeking to add more parentalism to backs 
that are already patronized to the point of breaking. 
The heart break must go on, the gulf between worshippers 
and workers must widen, the alienation of labour from 
the church must continue, until the church awakes to 
the fact that alterations in this or that detail of her 
thought structure are not enough. At the fountain head 
of Christianity to-day stands fatherly absolutism in 
the heavens. And that colours every activity of the 
church to their remotest reaches — as an ore bed at the 
head of a stream discolours the river a thousand miles 
away, no matter how purely it may have flowed after it 
got way from the ore bed. There must be fundamental 


democracy in the godhead itself. Not until then will 
the working class come back into the church. 

These then are the three counts in the indictment 
which the democracy to-day is bringing against the idea 
of a fatherly creator and ruler of the universe: First, 
that it is unbiblical, and was a "devised fable" craftily 
interpolated . into the christian system by Greek meta- 
physicians at the behest of their Roman overlords. 
Second, that it is untrue, because the forces of nature 
do not operate on any basis of personal intelligence and 
kindliness; they are brute powers which are not to be 
prayed unto but are to be mastered. Third, that it is 
immoral, inasmuch as it presents to fundamental democ- 
racy the opposition of fundamental absolutism. And 
the last is the most damnatory count in the indictment. 
A religion can exist after it has been found to be unbibli- 
cal. It can even struggle on after it has become untrue. 
But it cannot continue after it has been found to be 
immoral. The tidal drift away from the church means 
much. But there is setting in to-day a tidal drift against 
the church, and that means vastly more, particularly 
as that tidal sweep includes to-day some of the noblest 
enthusiasms of our time. When once conscience has 
been enlisted against a church, that church is doomed. 
The religion of the classic world was able to keep going 
after it had lost its power of producing martyrs. But 
when, on a stream of passion that came surging forth 
from Nazareth, martyrs were raised up against that 
religion, its hour had struck. The democracy to-day 
believes with all its soul and heart and mind and strength 


that paternal despotism in the heavens is the begetter of 
paternal despotisms upon earth; that the church's the- 
ology was made in an age of aristocracy, by the paid 
retainers of the aristocracy, and in the interests of aris- 
tocracy. Therefore the democracy is putting conscience 
in its fight against this "spiritual wickedness," and is 
saying in the words of an aforetime warrior against 
wrong: "We shall doe God and our country true service 
by taking away this evil." 


Malmesbury tells of a prodigy, two women joined 
together from birth. "At last, one dying, the other 
survived, and the living carried about the dead 
for the space of three years, till she dies also, through 
the fatigue of the weight." 

The ligature woven by the Grseco-Roman philos- 
ophers, conjoining The Carpenter with the idea of a 
paternal despot in heaven, threatens, unless the two 
can be severed, to cause a similar fatality. For 
the speculations of Greek metaphysics are dead. The 
scientific view of the universe, discovered by modern 
research and increasingly accepted by the modern world, 
is in polar opposition to the laboured mysticisms of Plato 
and the Platonists. Science is an august thing; it is 
taught to-day in the schools, is preached by the uni- 
versities, and is the organizing principle in modern 
industry. A belated bishop here and there may issue 
a prayer for rain; but he is no longer taken seriously. 
The theistic school, driven to the wall, unable longer 
to defend its theory of a personal intelligence back of 
the forces of nature, is resorting to obscurantism — is 
fighting a slow retreat, or lapsing into sullen silence. 
The divine despotism is dead. The danger is lest the 
Carpenter of Galilee, conjoined to that partner, may 



also be dragged down, "through the fatigue of the 

A section of the proletary class to-day is showing a 
trend away from the spiritual foundations of life and into 
a pronounced secularism. These have never seen the 
Nazareth Workingman in his real aspect, as the industrial 
leader of the industrialists of the world. They have ac- 
cepted the portrait of him as it was repainted by the 
theologians of the Roman Empire — a representative 
of the csesarized sovereignty in the heavens. Therefore 
they are stripping themselves of religion of every kind — 
they regard any leanings toward a spiritual view of life 
as evidence either of outworn superstition, or of a covert 
sympathy with the master and proprietary class. 

If this trend were to grow, if the social movement were 
to be lopped away from its holdfast in religion, that move- 
ment would receive therein its death mark. For democ- 
racy is an enthusiasm or it is nothing. To divorce it 
from faith leaves a mutilated thing, devoid of beauty 
and stamina. A propaganda, to succeed, must have 
within it the driving power of a great emotion. Religion 
is the premier force in human life, and always will be; for 
it changes the verb from the subjunctive to the impera- 
tive. Democracy in its essence is not a movement away 
from religion: it is a movement toward a truer and higher 
religion. The calm clear thinking of the schools is power- 
less to effect social alterations: it must be emotionalized. 
Logic is like sunshine in winter, full of light but freezing. 
It is only when the earth swings near to the sun that there 
takes place the upheaval and resurrection of the spring- 
tide. "Not a revolution in Europe but there has been 


a monk back of it," is perhaps an overstatement. But 
there resides a soul of truth in the proverb. Faith 
touched with passion — that has been in every age the 
great social dynamic. For the democracy to leave the 
religious area to the exploiter and privileged class, would 
be a tactical blunder of the first magnitude. Let me 
write a nation's religion, and I care not who writes her 

Said Mazzini: "Great social transformations have 
never been and never will be other than the application of 
a religious principle, of a moral development, of a strong 
and active faith. On the day when democracy shall ele- 
vate itself to the position of a religious party it will carry 
away the victory, not before"; and again: "The 
religious question pursues me like a remorse; it is the only 
one of any real importance." Richard Whiteing speaks 
to the same theme : " Democracy is a religion or nothing, 
with its ritual, its ceremonies, its cenobites, its govern- 
ment as a church — above all, its organized sacrifice 
of the altar, the sacrifice of self. This is the deepest 
craving of human nature. All attempts to sacrifice man 's 
heroism to his interests have ever failed. His goodness 
must make him smart." Where social interest has no 
rootage in religion, it is a precarious and fragile thing. 
"Nothing has struck me more," bitterly exclaims a leader 
of the democratic ideal, "than the short life of social 
enthusiasm. We have had thousands of examples." 
The Carpenter foresaw this. Zeal, if it has no roots, is a 
short lived thing; it will parch at the first drought. He 
pointed this, in his parable of the Wise and Foolish Vir- 
gins. Where there is a spiritual reinforcement, social en- 


thusiasm has a reserve of fuel to draw upon, like the five 
who "took oil in their vessels with their lamps." The 
five fooHsh ones took no oil. At the critical time they per- 
ceived, "our lamps are going out"; and there was no 
source at hand from which to obtain fresh supplies. 

In the democracy's reaction against the other- worldines3 
^nd quietism of the church, there is danger lest it go 
to the other extreme — a materialism untempered by 
spiritual ideas and ideals. The one narrowness would be 
as lop-sided as the other. Man is an earth animal. The 
church forgot that, and went off into mystic altitudes 
where the air is too rarefied for health. On the other 
hand, man is more than an earth animal; and any attempt 
to frame a system of society based "on bread alone," has 
in it no seeds of permanency. The democracy points, 
and with justice, to the dulness of the church's view of 
life and the hereafter — self-effacement in this world, 
and orchestra practice in the next. But a socialized 
materialism would be equally uninteresting — a monot- 
onous level of mediocrity, everybody conventional, 
slaves to a dull reputability. There are three destroyers 
of the human spirit: fear of death, fear of poverty, and 
fear of public opinion. Of these, fear of public opinion 
is chief. Above all else, democracy needs individuals who 
shall refuse to be absorbed in the mass. She threatens 
to a customary life, a shallow plebeianism of the spirit. 
No yoke so galling as the yoke of that brainless tyrant, 
Public Opinion; no espionage of a Herod or a Nero so 
inquisitorial as her espionage. Who shall stand up 
against her? Who shall be equal to the maddening sol- 
itude of life on the moral frontier? Who shall tread the 


wine press alone? Only they within whom are the foun- 
tain deeps where the drained cup of life is refilled. Re- 
ligion fortifies that inner preserve of personality, and thus 
makes radio-active spirits possible. 

It is here that The Carpenter is the proletariat's lord 
by divinest right. For he is on the one hand the keeper 
of the floodgates of enthusiasm; and on the other he di- 
rects that flood into channels of worldly use, of social 
transformation. It is this combination of the two traits 
in rarest blend, which gives him the easy preeminence 
and makes him the christ — humanity 's anointed one. 
Other leaders there have been, with as lofty a spiritual 
vision as he; but they lacked the economic approach; 
therefore they were boats with much sail and little bal- 
last, at the mercy of the gusts of fanaticism and rhapsody. 
Likewise there have been upheavers of despotism, eco- 
nomic reconstructors, as energetic as he; but they 
have lacked his hold in the unseen world, where alone are 
the hidings of power; and so, like laden boats without sail 
or towage, they have hung inert — water-logged dere- 
licts on the tide. The abnormal poise of The Carpenter 
whilst treading dizziest altitudes of the spirit, marks him 
out as the God-man; for he is at home in both worlds. 

The Carpenter of Nazareth is the democracy's chief 
asset; to suffer themselves to be defrauded of their 
birthright in him, were criminal negligence. He is the 
greatest arouser of the masses which human annals have 
recorded. " He stirreth up the people," is his biography in 
five words. "This child shall be for the falling and rising 
again of many," said one, when the babe was still in 
swaddling clothes. His footprints through Palestine 


were dragons ' teeth, raising up a harvest of armed souls, 
helmeted for warrior work. Gifted with vision into the 
world of the unseen, he enlisted all the powers of that un- 
seen world on the side of the disinherited. His theology 
had an inflammatory purpose. His ethics was the ethics 
of self-respect, a brand of ethics which is the destroyer 
of servitude and the begetter of freedom in every age and 
under every sky. He identified himself with the pro- 
letariat, those a-hungered, thirsty, stranger, naked, 
sick, and in prison — "inasmuch as ye have done it 
unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done 
it unto me." He lived their life, he died their death. 
And those pierced hands to-day are lifting empires off 
their hinges. 

By holding with Jesus, the democracy obtains the mo- 
mentum of the centuries. Historic continuity is of in- 
calculable advantage. Had the Sturm und Drang period 
in Europe a century ago identified itself with the stream 
of democracy which issues from Galilee, it might have 
been other than a fire in straw, and the world had been 
saved the reaction that followed, lasting seven decades. 
From the summit of twenty centuries Jesus overleans the 
democracy to-day, and is ambitious to reinforce it with 
ancestral wisdom and the might of the martyrs. It is no 
small advantage to the social movement that it can claim 
as its lord him who redated the calendar. The springs 
of modern democracy are in Nazareth. A movement is 
powerful to the extent that it has back of it the push of 
the centuries. History is the key to futurity. 

The democracy needs Jesus to stiffen it against sur- 
render and self -betrayal. He was an irreconcilable. 


He knew the devious windings of the seigniorial mind, 
whereby it seeks to blind the people to the oppressions 
which it is fastening upon them. Then as now its method 
was to wring tribute from a whole province, build a tem- 
ple out of a part of the spoil, and ostentatiously present 
it to the people to attest the magnanimity of the donor: 
"They sound a trumpet, that they may be seen of men." 
Herod was a past master in this art. His show of gener- 
osity was deceiving many. But Jesus saw in those gifts 
morsels of meat thrown to watch dogs to keep them quiet; 
and he cautioned the proletariat: "Beware of the leaven 
of Herod." The imposing Temple in Jerusalem was his 
work. Herod announced that he was building it in order 
to promote the religious welfare of the people. Josephus 
informs us, however, that his real purpose was to raise for 
himself an everlasting memorial. Superficially its grand- 
eur was impressive. It was built of white marble. Its 
eastern front was covered with plates of gold which threw 
back the rays of the rising sun. Some of its foundation 
stones were of vast size, each representing the labour of 
a host of men. And this building, the "gift" of a man 
who blended in his own person the vices of the East 
and the tyrannous cruelty of the West, was become the 
official headquarters of the religion of the once proud- 
spirited Jews. 

Jesus as a boy of twelve was found in this Temple of 
Herod's, amid a group of the priestly parasites of that 
king. The narrative states that the boy was "asking 
them questions." We are not left in doubt as to the sort 
of questions he was asking, for as man he comes back to 
the subject. The Temple was still building, and Jesus 


on his last visit to Jerusalem heard in it the sound of ham- 
mer and chisel. This "leaven of Herod" was doing its 
pestiferous work — the grandeur of the structure was 
dazzling the populace. Even the disciples were under 
the glamour of it, so seductive is despotism 's ostentatious 
charity, so subtle is its power to put the soul in a trance. 
Jesus therefore cautioned them: "Take heed lest any 
man deceive you." He enforced the lesson by pointing 
to "the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 
And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither 
two mites. And he said. Of a truth I say unto you 
that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all. 
For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the 
offerings; but she of her penury." Even then his dis- 
ciples were not altogether convinced; something of a con- 
troversy upon the subject seems to have set in. For, 
"his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings 
of the Temple : Master, see what manner of stones and 
what buildings are here." Here at least, they argue, is 
an example of a man of wealth who is also a benefactor. 
But the Irreconcilable One refuses to be dazzled by this 
"manner of stones." He perceives that those imposing 
walls rest upon a foundation of economic injustice. There- 
fore they shall not stand: "Seest thou these great 
buildings.'^ There shall not be left one stone upon another 
that shall not be thrown down." And in five and thirty 
years it was so. The Carpenter's principle was that no 
man's personal force has a right to impede the personal 
force of another. A man, therefore, who climbs to wealth 
and power over the backs of his fellows, cannot atone for 
that social wrong by philanthropies. Said he: "The 


kings of the gentiles exercised lordship over them; and 
they that exercise authority upon them are called * sweet 
lords. ' But ye shall not be so." 

A leader of that uncompromising democratism is needed 
t,o-day. "The System," with its glitter and gilding, housed 
in imposing structures, served by high-salaried retainers, 
is a very soul stealer. Its subtle influence snares the 
spirit and invades the stoutest heart. Only under The 
Carpenter — he who did not know how to spare a despot 
— will there a day dawn when "the vile person shall be 
no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful." 
Many in the ranks of the democracy itself are animated 
by no high motives. Goaded by the sheer urgency of 
livelihood, they are concerned but with their own ad- 
vancement — which achieved, they turn their backs on 
former comrades. Some of the railroad operatives to-day 
are illustrating this trend — a willingness to advance 
their own interests irrespective of their brother proleta- 
rians. An Arab slave is prompted by no vision of the 
righteousness and beauty of freedom. His ambition is 
to climb up out of slavery, and then to own a slave 
for himself. "But the liberal deviseth liberal things." 

It is not diflficult to show that this spirit of "Each for 
himself," is the spirit of csesarisms and sultanisms every- 
where, the spirit that has immemorially crushed the 
aspirations of labour. Were it to prevail, were the 
sense of industrial solidarity to be lost, despotism 
would again make headway. For this heritage of liberty 
is not a free gift. So far as it has been obtained, it 
has been wrenched from the master class by the fist of 
a united proletariat. Let this solidarity re-granulate 


into particles, and those operatives who are climbing 
into the sunlight over the backs of their fellows would 
be thrust back into the same servitude into which they 
thought to leave their fellows. Against this abandon- 
ment of freedom as a principle, against this ignoble ac- 
quiescence in oppression — provided it oppresses only 
the other person — The Carpenter was in utter opposition. 
His plea was for solidarity, and against the strifes and 
selfishness that rend the popular cause and make it 
impotent. He would inject principle into the up- 
ward strivings of the disinherited. The masses, armed 
with conscience and reinforced by the Irreconcilable 
Leader, would be stiffened to fight the fight until judg- 
ment run down as waters and righteousness as a mighty 

Once again, the democracy needs this Leader as a con- 
troller of the bestial that is in the workingman as in 
every other child of earth. The sting of flesh is no re- 
specter of persons. It works its melancholy havoc of 
freedom in the house of toil as in the palace of ease. No 
fact is more established by history, than that a certain 
"virtue," a personal cleansing, issues forth from contact 
with The Nazarene. He "knew what was in man." 
Therefore, in proclaiming self-government, he put the 
accent quite as strongly on the "government" as on the 
"self." For government must be. If it is not by 
the self, then it will be done by another for him. The 
only freedom from tyrannous control from the outside, 
is tyrannous control by the man himself on the inside. 
There are signs that some of the liberty that has been 
won for the people is going off into wantonness. A 


generation of happy hooligans, each on pleasure bent, 
would impress no deep footprints upon the centuries. 
A proletary revolution, were it to mean an oligarchy of 
the base, an enthronement of the bestial and sub-human, 
would carry in it the seeds of its own dissolution. It is 
good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Dante 
located freedom at the top of the Mount of Discipline. 
In the record of the liberation from the brick-yards of 
Egypt, we read that Moses, straightway he had the peo- 
ple out of Goshen, led them into the gorges of Sinai, 
where amid the thunder-storms of that region he gave 
them the moral law, without which can be no enduring 
liberty; thus the rule of the Egyptian was replaced in 
them by the arm of an interior restraint, and the people 
went forward. Democracy to-day has reached a point 
where it need fear no foe outside. Her danger is a moral 
breakdown. The people who inherit freedom need of all 
peoples to live their life under the glare of his eye who 
said, "if thy right hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off 
and cast it from thee; it is better for thee." The true 
christian is a rebel; but he is a beneficent rebel. He is 
not less obedient than other people, but more obedient. 
He rebels against some human law, out of reverence for 
a higher law which the human law was violating. 

The modern age is the age of the city; and it is in such 
an age that The Carpenter feels most at home. Pales- 
tine in his day was thickly inhabited. The nation had 
passed out of a pastoral and agricultural society, into the 
more advanced life of the city. So that we find Jesus 
addressing his message to a people living in a complicated 
society like our own. He spent his days in the midst 


of a crowd. The Jewish nature has ever been one of so- 
ciability; its ideal is not isolation and the desert, but "a 
city of habitation." The rare occasions in which Jesus 
was alone, are marked out for mention. Some of his 
followers in after years, misreading his character, regarded 
the city as an artificial product and sought the devout 
life by means of retirement — a cloistered Christianity. 
But such was not The Carpenter. His gospel is a social 
gospel. His ideal is the civic ideal. Its goal is "the 
holy city descending from God out of heaven." There- 
fore the Carpenter-christ is the fit leader of the multi- 
tudinous To-day and of the increasingly multitudinous 
To-morrow. For the city is going to grow in importance. 
Civilization anyway has ever centred in the idea of the 
city — Babylon, Nineveh, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Athens, 
Rome, Constantinople, Florence. And this will be more 
true of the future than of the past. Already the Civitas 
Dei is supplanting that older idea of a Regnum Dei. It 
is here, in the city, where life is lived intensely and the 
economic pressure is heaviest, that the Christ-of-the- 
crowd has taken up his residence. 

The Jews are going to rediscover Jesus. And they are 
to find in him a fulcrum whereby to bring their democ- 
ratism to bear effectually on modern society. The Jews 
are foremost among the agitators for a new social order. 
For in their veins courses the blood that coursed in the 
veins of The Carpenter. Reports Renan: "In the 
revolutionary movements of France, the Jewish element 
played an important part." And that is true to-day 
the world over. More than by any other, the discontents 
of our time are being brought to an insurrectionary edge 


by two Jews — Lassalle and Marx. Israel is calling 
to-day for rebaptism, a new birth. For the Pharisee has 
been too long enthroned over her. The sons of the ghetto 
are waxing weary of the husk of rabbinism, the pom- 
pously intoned mummery of the past. In Germany, 
" 95 per cent, of the Jewish youth is atheistic, and at best 
utterly indifferent." In England, "It is a critical time 
for Judaism. The synagogues become less and less fre- 
quented." From a Jewish mother comes the wail: 
"What shall we teach our children? For we are raising 
them without religion. Oh, yes, we have our Sunday 
schools. You send your children there, but for what? 
To learn ancient history and the rudiments of a dead 
language. Do you call that religion?" The Jews live in 
a ghetto of their own making. They need the fresh breezes 
from the world outside, and the world outside needs 
them. Pent up in her self-made Jewries, she has a sub- 
merged but not suppressed idealism. For democracy is 
the master light of all her seeing. With Protestantism 
worshipping a Jew, and Roman Catholicism worshipping 
a Jewess, Israel is not going to be defrauded much longer 
of her heritage in Mary of Nazareth and The Carpenter. 
(The Good Friday petition in the Prayer-book, "Have 
mercy upon all Jews, Turks, infidels, and heretics," 
is a bit ungracious, considering Who it is that the church 
has enthroned for her worship, and from whose loins he 

And Israel is making ready to enter into this, her 
birthright. She is shaking off the dust and mould of cen- 
turies, and is consigning to the limbo of departed things 
the ghetto accumulations of phylacteries, fringes and 


the measurings of anise and cummin. Judah's long 
travail through the ages is not going to be in vain. The 
dead ghost is coming to life. For Judaism is natively 
a social enthusiasm. It is Rabbi Menes who breaks the 
silence thus: "Christianity of to-day is not the old, 
original Christianity. It is not J^susism, for it is not the 
religion which Jesus preached." Professor Lombroso's 
solution of the anti-Semitic problem is a new religion, 
** which shoidd take as its standard the new social ideas 
which christ has already preached." Exclaims one of the 
dreamers of the ghetto: *T give the Jews a christ they 
can now accept, the Christians a christ they have for- 
gotten — christ, not the tortured God but the joyous 
comrade, the friend of all simple souls; not the theologian 
spinning barren subleties, but the man of genius, the 
lover of warm life and warm sunlight and all that is fresh 
and simple and pure and beautiful." The collapse of 
the old faiths is leaving a void and an ache in the heart 
of man to-day. The Jew, through his intense demo- 
cratism, was the giver of the Bible to men. Mayhap 
that same democratism — a piece of baggage unlost in 
these eighteen centuries of her wilderness wanderings — 
may make her again the guiding light of a world in search 
of a religion. 

It is with reason, therefore, that leaders of the popular 
cause are beginning to turn to the Man of Nazareth. 
America will not be redeemed until Americans have 
learned to die. Without shedding of one *s blood there is 
no remission of sins. Out of agonies and bloody 
sweat Cometh the regeneration. Utilitarian ethics don't 


stand up when the cavalry come. Something more is 
needed if there is to be to-day a reincarnation of that 
people who, in the words of Thucydides, " dared beyond 
their strength, and hazarded against their judgment, and 
in extremities were of an excellent hope." Said Ches- 
terton Hill, "religion is a sociological necessity." For, 
when shall have come the people's coronation, an 
aflfirmative programme will be needed. A platform of 
protest will do for a cause during its minority. But when 
it becomes of age and enters upon responsibility, a con- 
structive temper is demanded. Porcupine ethics, the 
"don't-tread-on-me" principle, has not reach enough for 
a high and full-orbed life. 

The scriptures are being rediscovered. "The Bible 
good for the lower orders to accept?" All right. And they 
are finding it so meaty with democratism that they could 
well afford to endow the Bible Society to distribute the 
book in widest commonalty. The old bishop of Augsburg 
must have had a glimpse of its explosive nature: "Press 
not the breasts of holy scripture too hard, lest they 
yield blood rather than milk." But the blood is the life. 
The Just One at the right hand of power overbroods this 
present time, and sends out a vital nerve to every social 
devotee, to every daring dreamer. When Jesus identified 
himself with the proletariat of the ancient world, he took 
this modern age of democracy by the forelock. His all- 
mastering faith in the common people of his day has 
achieved for him, now in democracy's dawn, an inalien- 
able lordship. 

This drawing near to The Carpenter by democracy's 


consecrated host, is being furthered by a similar movement 
in the christian ranks — the powerful and rapidly grow- 
ing Ritschlian movement. An anti-theistic party that 
numbers such upholders as Ritschl, Harnack, Hartmann, 
and McGiffert will have to be reckoned with. It says: 
As to the primary cause of the cosmic process, man knows 
not and essentially cares not; barren for purposes of the 
moral life is the womb of that dark enigma; let the church 
forget this controversy of a former time, "those old, 
unhappy, far-off things, and battles long ago," and give 
herself to present-day themes. McGiffert speaks in no 
uncertain tone: "It is well to make thoroughgoing 
work of the matter. We have no business with a the- 
ology out of touch with the controlling interest of our 
lives." And he continues: "Science finds no God in 
nature. To put him within the universe and connect 
him with the processes of nature is to invite science to 
exclude him altogether, as it has excluded the old, 
miracle-working God of other days. Not in the physical 
world, the world of science, but in the realm of purpose, 
the realm of ethical and spiritual values, is God to be 
sought. The universe which science knows is suflScient 
unto itself, and needs no God within or without." And 
the Hibbert Journal enforces the same: "If the church 
is ever to be a real power in the world again, she must 
jettison the Pauline metaphysics and seek inspiration 
from the best thought of our own time." 

The social effect of the Ritschlian movement has not 
as yet made itself felt. A theological shift of this mag- 
nitude is too deep for its rumblings to reach quickly to the 
surface, where human beings live and where the world's 


work is wrought. But they will reach there in time. For 
the seismic vibrations are coursing their way up through 
the crust; they will get themselves noticed. A theology 
that lifts up the Revolutionist of Galilee as the supreme 
object of the world's worship, and which fortifies itself 
therein by closest historical science and by intellectual 
certitude, is going to have a reach into the realm of eco- 
nomics. There is more social dynamite in Ritschlianism 
than in Karl Marx and Henry George put together. 

That carpenter shop in Nazareth is a fulcrum from which 
democracy can move the world. There is regeneracy 
enough in the words of Jesus to right every wrong and to 
straighten every crookedness. He had no economic 
programme. The attempt to monopolize him for some 
particular plan of social architecture has done harm. 
For his oceanic nature refuses to be circumscribed within 
the limits of a fish-pond. The Carpenter, with that 
sagacity which never forsook him, knew that there can 
be no patent-right and machine-made redemption of so- 
ciety. An antitoxin against nervous breakdown can 
never be. For the nerves react to a thousand stimuli, 
any one of which, or the myriad combinations of them, 
may be the causer of the trouble. Only by restoring the 
entire man — and the environment along with him — can 
a permanent cure be effected. Jesus was too expert a 
social physician to advertise some economic programme 
as the cure-all of the sickness that has overtaken society. 
Rather, he set a religion loose in the world which should, 
through the upward centuries, work the cure. That 
religion, as we have seen, was wrested from its purpose 
of earth-redemption by the special interests, those who 


profited by a sick condition of society. But the cure 
remains, nevertheless, and needs but to be re-directed 
toward humanity's sore to reattest itself the sovereign- 
est thing in all the world for social dementedness. 
Democracy is a passion and not a programme. If its 
warp is materiality, its woof is spirituality. It is shot with 
religion through and through. It is a wager of faith. Its 
greatest gains have been in those eras when it has made 
largest demands on idealism, and has had its anchorage 
in the world of the unseen and the eternal. 



The situation to-day is tense, and is daily becoming 
tenser. There is a haunting sense of the abyss. The 
cash nexus is petering out. Prophets say that we are 
headed for trouble; they announce the oncoming of 
social bankruptcy, they state that there is enough mate- 
rial of discontent already in solution to form a red 
revolution, when comes the precipitation moment. 
There is piling up to-day the vastest accumulation of 
vested rights the world has ever seen; and there is 
moving toward it a lava stream of insurgency. Voices 
cry a head-on collision not far ahead. Professor Lange, 
philosopher and economist, points out: "The present 
state of things has been frequently compared with that 
of the ancient world before its dissolution, and it cannot 
be denied that significant analogies present themselves. 
We have the immoderate growth of wealth, we have the 
proletariat, we have the decay of morals." Said Herbert 
Spencer in a letter to an American friend: "We have 
bad times before us and you have still more dreadful 
times before you — civil war, immense bloodshed, and 
eventually military despotism of the severest type." 
One need not be a seer to detect that the atmosphere 
is becoming charged and electrical. To mention but 



one of the signs, the spectre of an oncoming irreligious 
citizenship is sufficiently consternating, and may well 
give pause to every lover of his country. Sane men 
to-day are asking if this our fair heritage of civilization 
is to be again overthrown. 

The masses have more material comforts than they 
have had before, but less of justice. The share of the 
worker in the product of his toil is shrinking — the 
percentage, that is. He may be rising in the scale of 
materialities, but the master class is rising also, and in 
vastly greater degree. One boy in America, not yet 
fifteen, has a fortune of $72,000,000. His income is 
near ten thousand dollars a day. This fortune was 
heaped up for him in the space of one generation — a 
rise in the scale of living which has not been matched 
by an equal rise for labour throughout ten thousand years 
of toil. Wealth confers industrial mastership. The 
"dead hand" has been abolished in law. But the 
power of mortmain still abides over the workshop, 
and hands over a hundred workmen, herd-like, to 
the heir. 

The argument one hears for the present competitive 
control of industry is that its long hours and driving 
toil increase the supply of wealth, and that this increase 
overflows in some measure to the masses everywhere — 
witness the dinner to which a day labourer sits down 
to-day, compared with what peasants formerly ate, 
and the clothes he wears, compared with the leather 
breeches of an earlier day. But the argument is wide 
of the mark. No increase in material goods can com- 
pensate for the decay of free spirits. In a civilization 


based on money, the poor in purse are compelled to be 
poor in spirit. The labour movement is not for material 
goods; it is for spiritual goods. The real agitators 
against an iniquitous social system are never those who 
"feel hunger at the maw," but a class above them. 
The tribe that accepts a place in the bread line, free 
blankets, night shelters, and soup in the mission house, 
have not the firm material out of which democracy 
forges her weapons. Agitators come from the class 
that thinks and feels. A hungry gut bites sharp, but a 
sense of wrong bites sharper. And sense of wrong is 
arrived at in each age by comparison with one's con- 
temporaries, not by comparison with one's ancestors. 

That animal well-being is important above all else, 
and is to be secured at any price, was the argument which 
hindered more than anything else the liberation move- 
ment under Moses. As slaves in the Goshen* brick- 
yards the Israelites had an assured domicile, with stated 
doles of food and clothing. The exodus out of that 
slavery into the uncertainties of wilderness life very soon 
brought murmurings against their leader: "Would to 
God we had died in the land of Egypt, when we sat by 
the flesh-pots and when we did eat bread to the full." 
Not without reason have the "flesh-pots of Egypt" 
become the synonym of ignoble contentment, moral 
inertia, cowardice of spirit. Jesus had to meet the 
argument. There were those in his day who justified 
the coming of the Roman Empire on the ground that, 
through its repression of patriotism and the higher sen- 
timents, the people's restlessness was deadened and 
peace secured — under the Pax Romana material gain 


was increased. But he answered that "man's life con- 
sisteth not in the abundance of things which he posses- 
seth"; that self-respect is more to be desired than a 
full belly — yes, that they who seek the full belly alone 
shall lose it; but that they who seek the kingdom of self- 
respect first, shall have the full belly added unto them. 

The argument of the flesh-pots is being heard to-day, 
deprecating the liberation of the negro slaves in the 
South on the ground that their material well-being was 
looked after under slavery more carefully than it is now. 
It is heard in every political campaign — the cartoon 
of the full dinner pail, that stock argument of the benev- 
olent feudalism of the day. The rich material civiliza- 
tion that is being created by the fiercely competitive 
industrialism of our time, is cited as compensation for 
the loss of liberty. The bath-tub in every house, the 
"fowl in the pot every Sunday," cheap and swift trans- 
portation, clothes tailored after the latest models, the 
penny newspaper, the libraries — a range of material 
well-being which kings formerly would have envied — 
is being held up before the eyes of the people as a salve 
for the hurt of industrial bondage. It is not too much 
to say that the "flesh-pots of Egypt" have been in every 
age democracy's greatest foe. 

Remembering that it is ratio, and not the absolute 
amount of wealth received by him, that is causing the 
unrest and the social upheaval of our day, it is evident 
to the seeing eye that the coming of machinery has 
aggravated the sore. For machine production has 
shifted the control tenfold more into the hands of the 
baronial class. Instead of a wedge placed underneath 


and lifting the entire mass equally, it has sundered square 
through the social body, cleaving it in twain. Sang 
the Greek poet Antiparos two thousand years ago, on 
the occasion of the introduction of the water-wheel into 
Europe (and the words not only bear a pertinency to the 
particular theme but have a broad overflow on the con- 
ception of nature held in the days of creative art): 
"Slaves who turn the mill-stone, spare your hands. 
The labour of young girls is performed by the water- 
nymphs, and now they leap, shining and light, upon 
the wheel as it revolves. They drag around the axle 
which turns with its spokes and puts in motion the great 
stone which turns round and round." But the proph- 
ecy has gone limpingly to its fulfilment. Well-nigh 
three fourths of human labour to-day is so exhausting 
that it stupefies. The water-nymphs and their fellow 
handmaids have indeed been harnessed, so that the 
production of wealth has increased a thousand-fold over 
the days of hand labour. But the increase has gone to 
the oligarchy at the top, and only scantily to the toilers 
at the bottom: so that the gulf has been widened. One 
tenth of the people own nine tenths of the wealth, and 
the disproportion is growing. Says John Stuart Mill: 
"It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet 
made have lightened the day's toil of any human being." 
The age boasts many triumphs over time and space — a 
multiplicity of contrivances! But these wonder-working 
flames, these levers and cogways more than human, 
have built for the toilers no avenue to heaven. 

As men are minds and spirits even more than they 
are bodies, these hugely unequal conditions are chafing 


a sore spot in the heart. Jesus held that an equation 
between men should be at all times possible — well- 
being apportioned according to worth. But to-day, 
with the coalescence of the families of the possessing 
class, life is becoming increasingly immobile; the fluidity 
of the social mass is coagulating. America's industrialism 
is great, but the social chasm is greater. Privileges 
wrested from the many are used for the fattening of a 
few. Dividend-hunters cohere into a moneyed oligarchy, 
and are cementing themselves into a class consciousness 
that is sundering society like a wedge. Fat kine against 
lean kine, tell a tale of social breakdown. Nothing 
is more clear than that the financial and industrial direc- 
torate is concentrating in the hands of a few allied 
families, while one fourth of the population in our great 
cities is at or below the starvation line. A polarization 
toward wealth and poverty — a generation of graspers 
and gaspers. For when the rich grow richer, those of 
stationary fortune grow relatively — and therefore act- 
ually — poorer. Freedom of contract? Separate the 
workman from his tools, and he has as much freedom as a 
rat against the terrier in the pit. Freedom of contract? 
Under the forms of modern freedom a cruder serfdom 
is in process than in the old days of status, for the 
ancient guarantees are now lost, which once assured the 
peasant food and a roof. Here is the root of trans- 
gression: Production is for the sake of profit, the toil- 
ing masses are used for tools. Things were meant to 
be the donkey, and man the rider. When, instead, 
man is made to get on all fours and carry the donkey, 
the arrangement will last as far as the next bridge. 


They who think that the social revolution of our day 
is belly-centred, think a very foolish thing. The crav- 
ing for a camaraderie in human affairs is the deepest 
of all cravings Augustine pointed out that sex immoral- 
ities are in large part the perversions of a divine yearn- 
ing for companionship. This was evidently the case 
with the woman in the banquet scene at Simon's house. 
Back of her fallen life, Jesus saw a fund of native affec- 
tion which, denied expression through the caste lines 
of the day, with its matrimony based on dowries, had 
sought vent in illegitimate unions: "I say unto thee, 
her sins which are many are forgiven; for she loved much." 
And, on a similar occasion: "Neither do I condemn thee; 
go thy way and sin no more." The sores of Lazarus 
demand something else than free dispensaries in the 
tenement districts, and doles of antiseptic wash. Better 
a dinner of herbs, in a democracy of the love of brothers, 
than a stalled ox where no love is. Humanity can get 
along without wealth, and has; some of the greatest 
achievements of the human spirit have been amidst a 
material environment which to-day would be called 
beggarly. But humanity cannot get along without 
fellowship. Hence this modern gehenna of shams and 
shoddies — the poor straitened in spirit more and more, 
to keep up by outward show an equality that vanished 
long ago. A crust is sweet in the kingdom of self- 
respect; but a banquet eaten amid humiliations, viewed 
by condescending eyes, is hard fare and makes for lean- 
ness. Therefore these discontents, whose fire is not 
quenched and whose worm dieth not — a million white 
teeth are gnawing at the pillars of the state. It is well 


in this connection to reiterate that a storm is caused by 
the difference in pressure between two atmospheric 
areas — nature abhorring a too great inequality. When 
that overplus of pressure piles up in the social atmosphere, 
by terrible things in righteousness is the equilibrium 

Disproportionate fortunes are not only bad for those 
at the bottom — inducing in them, were they to submit, 
a decay of self-respect. They are bad also for those 
at the top. Satiety is as great a destroyer of the spirit 
as poverty. Inordinate prosperity corrupts instead of 
ennobling its possessor — a monster devouring him in 
the guise of security and peace. Jesus regarded the 
over-rich as distinct objects of pity. He perceived that 
the cares and preoccupations which great wealth en- 
forces, hinder the growth of the interior man and atrophy 
the soul — the facility of life destroyed by excess of 
goods. Care Castle! the palace of aching hearts! To 
drain the nipples of delight — is it not to mature for one's 
self a world weariness, when a man in the morning shall 
wish it were night, and in the night wait for the morning? 
Sumptuous living is not a begetter of liberty and genius. 
They who abide in marble halls are not largely noted 
for distinguishing achievement. Vulgar strivings and 
the inflow of ease-loving vices have been immemorially 
the attendants of great wealth. Said Malmesbury, 
"it is not common, but even more rare than a white 
crow, for men to aboimd in riches and not give indul- 
gence to their vices." And a prominent New York 
daily — not given to scareheads — furnishes to our 
ancient chronicler its modern counterpart, a society 


rotting into revolution: "There is no denying," it 
says editorially, "that we have reached something like 
a social crisis in the United States. Within a year we 
have had far too many marital scandals, and other 
results of moral turpitude in our high life — that is to 
say, among the rich Americans — and there is not enough 
intellectual force, artistic appreciation, or public spirit 
among people of that quality, to compensate the country 
for the bad influence of their misdeeds": buttressing 
what Governor Altgeld said: "Money never estab- 
lished republican institutions in the world. It has no 
natural affinity with them, and does not understand 
them. Money has neither soul nor sentiment. It does 
not know the meaning of liberty, and it sneers at the 
rights of man. It never bled on the battle-field in time 
of war, and it never voluntarily sought the public treas- 
ury in time of peace." 

Not entirely to be wondered at, therefore, that the 
democracy is quite set in its determination, and predicts 
that the end of some of these things is at hand. For a 
feel of might is developing in its breast: it will break 
oppressions with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces 
like a potter's vessel. High diet side by side with a bread 
line, is bad — bad at both ends ; and both shall be done 
away. The present precipitous inequalities are de- 
humanizing. The bones of the human neck were not made 
for a steep bend either up or down; the vertebrae permit 
some slant from the horizontal, but protest with vim 
when the angle gets acute. The democracy lias learned 
how to produce wealth; she is going to leaim now how 
to divide it. The alteration in the social edifice will 


cause some disturbance. The masters of the ship cry out 
that this shifting of the human ballast in the hold en- 
dangers the stability of the vessel. To which is an- 
swered: It was unwisely done, O masters of the ship, 
to use human beings for ballast. 

Thus far in humanity's advance the eflFect of aggrC' 
gations of wealth on human society has been almost 
uniformly divisive. The few exceptions do but prove 
the rule: Great property interests contract a man's 
horizon and beget an anti-social spirit. In its break-up 
of families, its severing of friendships, its commercializ- 
ing of the sacredest human relationships, property may 
almost be styled the destroyer of delights and the sun- 
derer of societies. So that it is an open question whether 
the institution of private property on the whole has not 
done harm. It has increased the world's wealth; but 
the wranglings, the animosities, the castes which have 
gone with it have been so fatal to joy and high achieve- 
ment, that the world at this moment could well afford 
to have fewer goods and more good. The version of 
the Rich Young Man incident, as the Gospel of the 
Hebrews has it, is suggestive in its terseness: "Behold, 
many of thy brethren, sons of Abraham, are clad with 
dung, dying with hunger, and thy house is full of much 
goods." The mere presence of extremes in human 
society was to The Carpenter a proof of an unsocial and 
anti-social heart in the class at the top. The story of 
Dives, wTiom Jesus sent to hell, was not "The Parable 
of the Bad Rich Man," but merely, "The Parable of the 
Rich Man." 

When contrasts become too steep, nature restores the 


equilibrium, even though it bring to pass the while a 
day of trouble and of treading down and of perplexity ; 
when prayer voices, "hoarse with long silence," lift 
themselves to avert "the day of the great slaughter, 
when the towers fall." 

To this condition of tenseness, of social strain, we have 
on the other side the spectacle of a sick church. The 
dying out of altar fires and the perishing of the gods, 
would be a bodeful thing in any age. But in an age of 
unprecedented increase in wealth, and the self-indulgence 
and social restiveness which an enormous increase of 
wealth inevitably brings, a mortal sickness on the part 
of her religion foretells for civilization a grave crisis. 
We are hard up against a libertinage armoured with 
intellectual certitude. And that libertinage would 
not be confined to those at the top. Not without reason, 
prophets vision a day "when the keepers of the house 
shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow them- 
selves, and those that look out of the windows be dark- 
ened, and the doors shall be shut in the streets, and all 
the daughters of music shall be brought low; when they 
shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be 
in the way." 

Froude will not be accused of hysteria. He drew a 
parallel between the era that witnessed the overthrow 
of the Roman Republic, and our own day. He says, 
of that period in Rome: "The whole spiritual atmos- 
phere was saturated with cant — cant moral, cant polit- 
ical, cant religious ; an affectation of high principle which 
had ceased to touch the conduct, and flowed on in increas- 


ing volume of insincere and unreal speech." And he 
adds: "Tendencies now in operation may a few gen- 
erations hence land modern society in similar conclusions, 
unless other convictions revive meanwhile and get the 
mastery of them; of which possibility no more need be 
said than this, that unless there be such a revival in some 
shape or other, the forces, whatever they be, which con- 
trol the forms in which human things adjust themselves, 
will make an end again, as they made an end before, of 
what are called free institutions. Popular forms of gov- 
ernment are possible only when individual men can govern 
their own lives on moral principles, and when duty is 
of more importance than pleasure, and justice than 
material expediency." 



The conclusion of the whole matter is reassuring. 
We have seen that the economic is the master knot 
of human fate. Below all surface facts, the tramp 
of armies, pageantry of empire, intonings of liturgy, 
and even the systematizings of doctrine — for theology 
too has been most responsive to economic stimuli — 
stretches the bed-rock, man's industrial status. So that 
Christianity needs to get a new set of words. Historians 
who have awakened to the importance of the economic, 
have staked out the richest pay dirt at present under 
claim. Christianity took its rise in an economic convulsion. 
It was the flowering forth of Israel's age-old stalk of 
liberty — an attempt at a world-wide democratism which 
should countervail Rome's world-wide absolutism. Its 
Leader was slaughtered by Rome and her Caiaphas allies 
as an agitator, a disturber of the peace : and his followers 
were hunted with fire and crosses through more than a 
hundred years. Unable to compass its destruction by 
violence, Rome thereupon resorted to craftiness. She 
annexed Christianity. Sicklied o'er with philosophy, 
religion ceased to be the spontaneous upreach of man 
to his Maker, and became an engine of social control. 
But the "leaven hid in the meal" refused to be annexed; 



so that to-day the world is yeasty with insurgency and 

The "fierce democratic" is to many a scare and a bogie. 
Its imperturbable advance, at a rate against which no 
barriers are effectual, has to them something bodeful 
about it — "a certain fearful looking for of judgment." 
To which mood of the soul an ancient saw seems appli- 
cable: The wicked flee when no man pursueth. For 
these nightmares come from an overloaded conscience. 
They think of democracy's coronation as a day of burnings 
and fuel of fire, with confused noise and garments rolled 
in blood. But the red sky which these take for a con- 
flagration — might it not be the red of dawn? 

The charge is brought against the social democracy 
that it is an inflamer of the masses. But the masses need 
to be inflamed. To be set aflame — is not that quite 
the divinest thing that can happen to a man or to a set 
of men? The cold, dull heart of humanity needs fire. 
Art, literature, politics, religion, are judged solely by the 
extent to which they are inflammatory of otherwise inert 
and dead humanity. Not incapacity for government 
but indifference to it, has ever been the nub of the diflfi- 
culty. Prometheus was the saviour type because he 
was the fire-bringer. And Jesus showed his saviourhood 
nowhere more convincingly than in his manifesto: "I 
am come to bring fire on the earth. " The awakenment 
of the populace, while the most diflBcult, is also the most 
splendid work — the goal toward which all education, 
all inspiration through the slow centuries have climbed. 
Whatsoever is pure and lovely and of good report, comes 
from souls that have been set on fire: whilst, with the 


dying out of the fires of the spirit, immoralities come 
trooping in. Dante was guided by a sure instinct when 
he broke with tradition and pictured hell as a cold and 
soggy swamp, the negation of life and warmth. The 
event to which the whole creation moves, is that human- 
ity might have life, and that it might have it more 

Civilization is threatened with the sleeping sickness. 
America's danger is not the boiling over of the caldron; 
her danger is lest the fire be drawn from under and the 
boiling stop altogether. For the vices of civilization are 
taking the place of the vices of barbarism — and are more 
to be feared. There came a time in Rome when her 
people lost the desire for self-government; it was the 
second death, and from there there is no resurrection. 
The trouble is, the people are too conservative. The 
natural man prefers the flesh-pots of Egypt to the high 
adventure in the wilderness. The people conquered 
and content, refusing the fire even when it is brought to 
them — that is the vulture which tears the liver of a 
prometheus, and which wrings from every saviour heart 
the cry of god-forsakenness. In all ages the difliculty 
has been that God is in a hurry and man is not. 

Let America's working class once have their spirit 
broken, and it would be all up with her. When self- 
respect is no longer the inhabiter of the house, decadence 
knocks at the door. America's industrialism dominates 
the world, because her industrialists are high spirited. 
liCt that nerve be snapped — her industry's proud magnif- 
icence would be overtaken with a palsy. Nature will 
not be subjugated by men who are themselves in sub- 


jugation. One need but enter any manufacturing plant 
to-day, with its plexus of wheels and beltings and fur- 
naces — the roar of its forges, the creak of the crane, the 
shriek of the dynamo, the trip-hammer's plunge, hiss of 
steam — to visualize the dumb titan forces there being 
invoked by man. Let the workmen in that Atlantean 
smithy slump from freedom down into slavish, colourless, 
uneager things — those titan forces would detect the fact, 
and would throw off the collar of servitude. Only work- 
folk who eat the bread of self-respect shall win respect 
from the nature titans and naiads. 

The seething at the bottom of society to-day is 
distinctly of favourable omen. Stiffened by manly 
fibre, refusing doles of charity, the working class shall 
be the saviours of a civilization threatened with dry 
rot. Distrust of man was to The Carpenter the sin 
against the holy ghost, which shall not be forgiven. 
If one half the effort that is going into "keeping the 
lid on," were spent in utilizing the human forces pent 
under that lid, the millennium would peep at us from 
around the corner. The fires of hell, burning at present 
to no profit, are a waste on the resources of the universe. 
Conservation — a seasonable theme just now — should 
turn its attention thither. For the flames of hell, if put 
to productive use, would run all the machinery of the 

Danger to civilization? There is a danger to civil- 
ization. But it comes not from the agitator type 
of workingman. It comes from the rabble under- 
neath, who have no desire for freedom, and are 
content with the bread line. Devoid of respect for them- 


selves, when comes the hour of opportunity they will be 
devoid of respect for others. This type of man, claiming 
no rights for himself, will respect not the rights of another. 
That vast underworld population, brainless, heartless, 
soulless, presents distinctly a danger. Worth while in this 
connection to dig up Macaulay's letter to an American: 
"The day will come when, in the state of New York, a 
multitude of people, not one of whom has had more than 
half a breakfast, or expects to have more than half a 
dinner, will choose a legislature. Is it possible to doubt 
what sort of legislature will be chosen.? I seriously ap- 
prehend that you will in some such season of adversity 
as I have described, do things which will prevent pros- 
perity from returning. Either some Caesar or Napoleon 
will seize the reins of government with a strong hand, 
or your republic will be as powerfully plundered and laid 
waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the 
Roman Empire was in the fifth; with this difference — 
that the Huns and Vandals who ravaged the Roman 
Empire came from without, and that your Huns and 
Vandals will have been engendered within your own 
country and by your own institutions.'* The slums are 
a blood clot in any civilization; when the circulation is 
not vigorous enough to reabsorb them, an apoplexy is 

Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath en- 
tered into the heart of man to conceive the things which 
God is preparing for the world, when once he and the 
people shall have got together. Hitherto, in practically 
every age, religion has been on the side of the privileged 
class and against the working class. And in this day 


of the interrogation of all things, this is being found out. 
Students of the time deplore the "decay of the very spirit 
of religion. " There is no such decay. The heart of man 
is irrepressibly religious. But a suspicion has got abroad 
that religion in its institutional forms is a device to keep 
the masses cowed. A theology which teaches that God 
is Mammon's silent partner, would be necessarily suspect 
in an age of folk upheaval. Let that suspicion be lifted, 
and the at present repressed soul of man will publish 
abroad once more the "joy of believing." Property 
needs not God to protect it. Let a danger be whispered 
against property — instanter a thousand arms arise 
to fend it. It is the people need a divine protector. 
Jesus announced "good news," namely, that heaven is 
passionately on the side of the people against the despotic 
tendencies of property; and under that leadership a 
messianic passion for men is announcing itself. The 
trouble is, the working people at large have not yet come 
to behold The Carpenter, obscured as he is by an over- 
growth of verbiage and ritual and theologisms. If by 
some gift of tongues it could be proclaimed everywhere 
that Jesus, the solace of the world's sorrow — he who, by 
bringing life and immortality to light, has blunted the 
sharpness of death — is on the side of the people against 
their devourers, a religious awakening would billow 
across the continent, put an end to an age of unfaith, 
and reconstruct society. Let the case take a change of 
venue from the court of mysticism to the court of 
economics, and religion will find in the latter a jury 
packed and eager to give her a verdict. 

To the sick church of Christendom, therefore, 


democracy comes with healing. It restores the economic 
basis, without which can be no robust spirituality. 
For, in its creative eras, religion has not been something 
tacked onto life — a decorative adjunct — but life itself 
ennobled and transfigured. Each was meant to help 
the other. Earth and heaven are twins joined from birth 
by a vital ligature; if earth takes sick, heaven sickens also. 
An earth restored to economic health would pulsate new 
blood into the other twin. "Let justice be done though 
the heavens fall," said a robust believer of ancient times. 
"Let justice be done lest the heavens fall," is the ut- 
terance of the believer class to-day. A people econom- 
ically dependent is not going to be spiritually rugged. 

It is meaty with significance that the Jews, the 
one nation of antiquity that stood for democracy, was 
the nation which has given religion to the civilized 
world. Does it not suggest that there is a blood re- 
lationship between democracy and spirituality? and that 
religion has for its one purpose to impart to democracy 
a perennial impulse and inspiration? Periods of political 
subjection and economic slavery have been periods also 
of religious decline. But those eras in which the peoples 
have awakened to interrogation and demand, have seen 
also a spiritual outflowering. Chrysostom, Savonarola, 
Wyclif, Luther, Knox, Robinson — the more exact his- 
tory of our day is revealing the economic movement 
back of and underlying their propagandas; in each of 
them, beneath all the theologic verbiage, some social 
imperative can be discerned. Said Cranmer, describing 
the Pilgrims: "They desire nothing more than the spoil, 
ruin, and destruction of them that be rich." It is the 


overstatement of an enemy. Nevertheless it discloses 
a political side to the pilgrim movement without which 
the "Mayflower" will not be understood, and which 
explains the Declaration of Independence a century and 
a half later. Religion is the soul of which the state is the 
body. At present we have a democratical state and a 
monarchical religion. Is it wonder that the spirit of 
the age suffers dislocation, that the harmony of life jan- 
gles off into barbarous discord, and that there is arising 
a tri})e of spiritual nomads who seek to find a footing 
amidst the universal doubt and seek in vain. 

Jesus encountered in his day a pietist party — inhabiters 
of a dream world. Therefore he insisted that his aim 
lay, "in this present time." He refused to permit azure 
reaches of space to seep in and cloud the issue. He was 
not a mere vendor of impalpable wares. "The Resto- 
ration" which he announced was not a mass of spiritual 
vision remote from the life of men, but had to do with 
the conditions under which the world did its daily work 
and earned its daily bread. Remembering the insistence 
on self-respect which rumbles through his every saying, 
we may define spirituality as a high-spirited mood be- 
come habitual. The attempt to explain away from his 
words all of the explosive passages, has brought to pass 
a denaturized Christianity, a neuter in the world's affairs, 
all of the virility gelded out of it. Those inveterate 
parables of Jesus are inexpungable from the record. There 
are some who would be inclined to say that Jesus in these 
passages "emptied himself of his godhead." But the 
common people hear him gladly; the working class is not 
magnetized by the portrait of a decorative christ; to 


these attempts to dress The Carpenter in purple and fine 
linen, to wash from his hands the stain of toil, replace his 
working clothes with imperator apparel, and remove 
him into a cloistered aloofness from the good gross earth, 
the heart of the toiler cries out its bereavement: "They 
have taken away my lord, and I know not where they have 
laid him. " 

The democracy asks of the Church but one thing — 
that she stick to the gospel. In getting away from the 
historic Jesus, she abnegates the charter of her existence. 
liCt her recant, let her bravely respeak her abdication, 
and the working class will come back to her altars, throng- 
ing her as they thronged her Founder from Galilee to 
Golgotha. With Christianity once democratized, 'twould 
not be long before the democracy would be christianized. 
The task of the twentieth century is going to be to con- 
vert the Church to The Carpenter. For the democracy 
is already being converted unto him. The recoil from an 
artfully contrived system of "faith" has led many of the 
proletariat to the street corner and the pothouse — their 
feet hastened thither by the drink-inducing conditions 
of modern industry: "Kings may be blest, but Tam was 
glorious, o'er all the ills of life victorious." But this 
will not be for always. Democracy has a religious root. 
In its struggle for existence it turns to the Galilean Com- 
rade with the cry, "uphold me by thy free spirit." In 
the fellowship of The Carpenter there is going to be 
wrought a statement of religion that will make scepticism 

The secret places of the Most High form an inviolable 
realm, where daring dreams are nourished. They whose 


inner life is continuous with that prodigious realm, 
"have root in themselves"; their power to dream and 
to dare shall not wither. For this Galilean held that 
life should be a great adventure. He demanded fol- 
lowers who were unconventional enough to risk every- 
thing for their ideals — said they should "hate their 
lives, " even to the point of carrying around with them a 
cross on their backs, to have it handy whenever their 
enemies might wish to bring ofiF a crucifixion. His 
pity for the rich was because they wax timorous and 
dull. The purpose of life is to live — Jesus was very 
emphatic about that. The rich fool pampers himself 
until his soul becomes tender, gets to be a stay-at-home, 
fears to go out to the call of high adventure. To com- 
promise is to become commonplace. Jesus would have 
none of it. He cared only for the thoroughbred type. 
Two-mindedness — that vice of middleclass folk — 
awoke in him an utter distaste. Men groaned under 
a tenth — he exacted all. He could not away with 
the careful, the calculating chap. "Master, where 
dwellest thou.^ Come and see. They came" — for 
pure romance there is nothing like it elsewhere in 
literature. Now, as in that day, the world needs a fresh 
wave of life. To find a new dream! that is the craving 
of a humankind grown old and cowardly. It needs 
commerce with the Insurgent of Galilee, whose career 
was the romantic as opposed to the conventional, and 
whose dwelling place was the clear air of the hills and the 
salt sting of the sea marsh. The " tradition of the elders ! " 
— he laughed it to scorn; said that the spirit should be 
permitted to blow whithersoever it listeth. He contended 


for the abundant life, against the curse of common- 
placeness — "he that saveth his life shall lose it." 

Though his three public years were passed in city 
throngs, his eighteen wage-earner years were amidst rural 
scenes. Jesus was a country carpenter. This had bred 
in him a love of out-of-doors. He had nourished his 
spirit on the song of water courses, and the evening 
hymns intoned by meadow and woodland. Accordingly 
it was the poetry of nature that he voiced, the romance 
of field and furrow. There is to-day a rejuvenescence 
of country life. Forty millions of our people live outside 
the cities. A new rural civilization is called for, if the 
springs of urban life are to be kept fresh and wholesome. 
Agriculture is the fundamental industry. Important 
therefore beyond describing are the tides of life that ebb 
and flow in those who live on the land. There needs a 
strong centre of rest, around which shall pivot our vast and 
eager industrialism. Rural life cannot be lived success- 
fully save by those who love the open, who see the poetry 
of work on the farm, the abiding significance of seedtime 
and harvest, the love stories of animal life, the drama of 
the soil, and to whose ears the hum of the mower in the 
June clover is music. The Carpenter's evangel — the 
marriage of labour and worship, religion expressed in 
terms of the day's work — is needed by the land tillers, 
to idealize rural life and tasks. He whose red blood was 
spent for economic justice, said also, "consider the lilies. " 
The Poet of Galilee shall unlock the imaginative treasures 
of the countryside. Its inhabiters shall be fashioned by 
him into the minnesingers of a richer romance than the 
^Id, the romance of the favourable earth — of man 


and his creative vocation. So shall the new streams of 
country life be turned into channels of idealism. 

Workingmen see in Jesus one of themselves. On com- 
ing into power one of their first acts would be to put 
this Workingman into the public schools — a moulder of 
childhood's formative clay. The Carpenter of Nazareth 
is the greatest working force in history. He is woven 
into every part of knowledge. To keep him longer quar- 
antined from the schools and colleges would not only be- 
reave the young of collision with the most eflBcient moral 
dynamic ever known, but it would also maim the intellect. 
Jesus is the central fire that burns at the heart of history. 
Leave him out, European chronicles are meaningless — 
the march of the centuries nothing but a splendid chaos. 
Art, letters, the development of institutions, are knowable 
only to those who know him. He is the red cord across 
the stretch of the centuries, the clue to an otherwise 
infinite maze and bafflement. Only to whoso has knowl- 
edge of this Workingman is there presented a map of 
history, and the human drama unfolds itself in a 
scheme of orderliness and progression. The calendar 
on the wall of every home and shop and office attests 
the unavoidable Carpenter. To release him, therefore, 
from the Sunday schools and the catechism — those 
prison chambers — into the public school where he be- 
longs by inalienable right, is the premier need of our day. 

The Bible as a whole is a literature which it were 
criminal to embargo longer from the school room. Said 
Huxley: "I have always been strongly in favour of 
secular education, in the sense of education witliout 
theology; but I must confess that I have been no less 


seriously perplexed to know by what practical measures 
the religious feeling, which is the essential basis of con- 
duct, was to be kept up, in the present utterly chaotic 
state of opinion on these matters, without the use of the 
Bible. Take the Bible as a whole, and there still remains 
in this old literature a vast residuum of moral beauty 
and grandeur. By the study of what other book could 
children be so much humanized and made to feel that 
each figure in that vast historical procession fills in, like 
themselves, the interval between two eternities, and earns 
the blessings or the curses of all time according to its 
effort to do good and hate evil?" 

That democracy is a force making for peace, that it 
maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth, that it 
breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder, is 
being conceded to-day even by its enemies. The "Red 
International" was pictured by the governments of 
Europe in horriferous terms. But listen to the preamble 
of its manifesto: "The red flag is the symbol of blood shed 
by the people for liberty. It represents the unity and 
fraternity of the races of men, while the national ban- 
ners represent hostility and war between the different 
States." In 1870, France and Germany were in frat- 
ricidal war. Undeterred, the Paris federation of the 
"International" sent a message to their fellow proleta- 
rians in Berlin: "War is the indirect means by which 
governments stifle the liberties of the people." And 
the Berlin local replied: "With heart and hand we ad- 
here to your proclamation. We solemnly vow that neither 
beat of drum, nor victory, nor defeat shall divert us 
from our efforts to establish the union of the workers 


of all countries." The Carpenter had for his other 
name, "Prince of Peace." His birth was hailed 
with a "Peace on earth, good will to men." And 
fittingly. Not that his cult is a cult of softness. The 
creed of The Carpenter is stern-hearted against the 
exploiter; and it may be dangerous once more to be a 
christian. But it declares this last and final war 
in order that war may come to a perpetual end. The 
great campaign for which democracy is filling its arsenal, 
is the conquest of nature. Its weapons are the ploughshare 
and the pruning-hook. And man shall partake bounti- 
fully of the fruits of the earth, for they will be the "abun- 
dant fruits of righteousness." 

Richard Wagner cries out against "the profound immor- 
ality of our civilization"; and is joined therein by fellow 
craftsmen. They sigh for the spacious days of those who 

Lived long ago in the morning of the world. 
When earth was nearer heaven than now. 

When God and the common people were neighbourly, 
workmen put conscience into their work. "In the elder 
days of art the builders wrought with greatest care each 
minute and unseen part; for the great God sees every- 
where." This scroll has been found in the tomb of an 
old Egyptian: "Love of work he has to do brings a man 
nearer to the gods. " They worshipped while they worked, 
and therefore needed not to work laboriously in their 
worship. Wagner, to whose all-sided mind were granted 
sure insights into the realm of religion, glimpsed the cause 
of the modern decay of art compared with those earlier 
days. Said he: "Christianity was the offspring of the 


folk; so long as it remained a purely popular expression, 
everything in it was sturdily honest and genuine. " And 
he cried out against our modern age, with its enthrone- 
ment of a privileged class: "I will destroy the order of 
things that turns millions to slaves of a few, and these 
few to slaves of their own might, their own riches. I will 
destroy this order of things, that cuts enjoyment off from 
labour, makes labour a load, enjoyment a vice, makes one 
man wretched through want, another through overflow." 
And he cannot let the theme alone: "It seems as if the 
state's disposal of the apparently so simple idea of Prop- 
erty had driven a wedge into the body of mankind, that 
dooms it to a lingering death in agony. " 

Art is a communal thing. It comes only when the 
people work together. A dearth of art is to be expected 
in the riot of individualism that is now upon us — property 
rights with its meums and tuums; egoism's disintegrating 
career. The artist nature is social: "Self is so small, 
make me a part of something larger." An embattled 
society, class aggregated against class in internecine war, 
never yet produced great art. Beauty is a timorous 
thing; caught in the swirl of these discontents, she takes 
fright and flees. For art production there must needs 
be a cheerful and hearty society, purged and tranquillized. 

But class is going to be done away. Communal life 
will again bring communal art; the life energies which 
well up in man so fluently will merge their flow and be- 
come a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the 
city of God. The seigniory of Florence in building the 
Campanile declared that "The Republic, soaring ever 
above the conception of the most competent judges. 


desires than an edifice should be constructed so magni- 
ficent in its height and beauty that it shall surpass any- 
thing of the kind produced in the time of their greatest 
power by the Greeks and Romans." Remembering a 
home under the palms of Nazareth, and a mother there 
who gave to the world a christmas gift, we are grate- 
ful that this church in Florence was the duomo of "St 
Mary of the Flower." As to that other decree of the 
city of Florence, there is doubt as to its historic authen- 
ticity; but it is none the less characteristic of those high- 
spirited Florentines, and is suggestive of what will be 
when democracy shall have taught men the complete 
art of living together: "Whereas it is the highest interest 
of a people of illustrious origin so to proceed in their 
affairs that men may perceive from their external works 
that their doings are at once wise and magnanimous; it 
is therefore ordered that Arnulf , architect of our commune, 
prepare the model or design for the rebuilding of Santa 
Reparata with such supreme and lavish magnificence, 
that neither the industry nor the capacity of man shall 
be able to devise anything more grand or more beautiful : 
inasmuch as the most judicious in this city have pro- 
nounced the opinion, in public and private conferences, 
that no work of the commune should be undertaken unless 
the design be such as to make it correspond with a heart 
which is of the greatest nature, because composed of the 
spiritof many citizens united together in one common will." 
So long as the hand workers at the bottom of society 
are dumb caryatids, supporting on their backs the temple 
of privilege which they themselves never enter, life will 
continue to be fragmentary, departmental. Only they 


are great artists who see life whole. And seers shall not 
steadily see life whole, unless the livers of that life Hve 
it whole. The Mystic of the GaKlean hills is the patron 
of industrial art — the art of the f utiu-e — seeing that he 
wrought out in his own personality a reintegration of 
life's cleaved fragments and showed that it is possible for 
the worker and the worshipper to be one — laborare est 
orare. Not causelessly have the followers of the Son 
of "Mary of the Flower" bestowed upon him in every 
age the tribute, "Rose of Sharon, Lily of the Valley, 
Fairest among Ten Thousand." Under him joy, so 
long now an exile, will come back to the workshop and 
the factory. Then beauty shall be once more upon the 

The good, the beautiful and the true, was the Greek 
trinity of values. That formula of a full-orbed life must 
be restored — and shall be, when the ideals of the crucified 
Handicraftsman shall be reunderstood. In getting away 
from pagan morals, the world did wisely. But in getting 
away from the pagan view of nature, the world did un- 
wisely. Our theologians depict nature-forces to be dead 
unsensing implements. To the early Greeks, however, 
nature had a life of its own; whereby man and nature 
were in a sort of camaraderie. It was this note whose 
absence from our modern world Wordsworth so bitterly 

Great God! I'd rather be 

A Pagan, suckled in a creed outworn. 
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea. 

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn: 
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; 

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. 


Wordsworth's plaint was with reason. Theism's 
unimaginative view, embalming the forces of nature 
into hard worlds of matter, has made art impos- 

Jesus was a Galilean. The simple-hearted view of 
nature held in that unconventional people was much 
like that of the early Greeks. To Galileans, nature was 
a haunted thing. Seeing Jesus once in a mist, they cry 
out with alarm, thinking him to be the angry spirit of 
the lake. This general attitude toward the objects of 
nature was shared by Jesus. He thinks of the "dry 
places" as being haunted by spirits. To him disease is 
a thing conscious, active, rejoicing to be malignant. "He 
suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. " 
Evil was to his thought a personal agency at roam through 
the world, giving to the fact of sin a something of mystery 
and awfulness. The winds, the air, the light, the "liv- 
ing water," are conceived by him almost in terms of 
conscious personalities. His speech, so rich in verbal 
colour, was more than the imagery of a literary mind. 
To his view the universe was a thing alive and restless 
the storm and interplay of inconceivable forces, an 
unfettered domain of spirits. These were no mere 
figments of the imagination, airy nothings. They were 
potent creatures. Above, below, in earth and sky and 
water, nature was to him a choir, a society of sentient 
beings. Even the flowers of the field seemed to him to 
be wearing garments and conscious of their beauty. It 
was the earth-soul of the early Greeks, the ani- 
mate spirits of field and stream and woodland. Ai 
Eaesarea Philippi he saw the rock-cut niches dedicated 


to Pan, where Jordan streams forth from its cave; and 
he uttered no word of protest. 

It was the child attitude toward nature, to be sure. 
And the Galileans were the butt of much ridicule at the 
hands of the pedants — provoked olympian laughter 
among the dry-as-dusts in theologically-minded Jeru- 
salem. But Jesus defended this simple-hearted outlook 
upon life: Except a man repent and look out upon 
nature as a little child, he shall not enter the kingdom of 
art. The modern doctrine of evolution, giving as it does 
a sort of conscious life to everything in nature, is bringing 
man back to this primitive, this Galilean view. Wag- 
ner's contention is supported. For the art of the future 
we must not look to the rich and the leisured and the 
learned. Rather we must look to the proletary mass, 
that elemental class which has preserved the child-like 
simplicity so commended by The Carpenter, mercifully 
spared from becoming too civilized. That voice heard 
by the steersman on the ^gean, in the day of the triumph 
of Rome's hard materialism, "Great Pan is dead," was 
probably the legend of a romancer. But legend has a 
soul of truth. In the industrial democracy of the future. 
Pan is going to live again. He will be recalled from his 
exile. There was more hope for art in working-class 
Galilee, than in upper-class and hyper-civilized Jerusalem. 

The Carpenter of Nazareth has redeemed the toiling 
masses from contempt. It is no mere trope of rhetoric 
but literalest fact, that Jesus of Galilee was the incar- 
nation of labour's world-tragedy in its long climb up the 
ages. Conceived from an ancestry of immemorial toil, 
gestated amid the swirl of coming despotism, bom in a 


stable, his cradle an ox manger, suckled in straits and 
poverty, he knew the sorrows of the disinherited before his 
feet had felt the ground. From boyhood up, he earned 
his livelihood by sweat. A free workingman compelled 

j to compete with slave labour, he ate the bread of affliction 
and drank the cup of servitude. He was a day-labourer; 
he wore the mechanic's dress; he belonged to what i* 

I now known as the tin-dinner-pail crowd. It is far- 
reachingly significant — and the point will get itself 
considered in days that are to come — that the hands 
which were nailed to Golgotha's cross had known the feel 
of tools and probably bore even at the moment some 
callouses from his wage-earner days. He lifted up his 
voice against the industrial oppression; therefore he was 
led to the slaughter, though there was no harm found 
in him. And his own self bore the world-old sufferings 
of the wage class in his own body on the tree. Holman 
Hunt's symbolical picture, "The Shadow of the Cross," 
a scene in the carpenter shop in Nazareth, tells the story 
with fidelity and insight. For it suggests the inter- 
weavings whereby that workshop and the Golgotha 
event were plaited into one. In the picture the boy is 
seen as an apprentice to his father Joseph. He has been 
working all day, and now is stretching out tired arms 
— arms put too early to work — in a gesture of weariness. 
The declining sun, catching the figure, silhouettes it 
against the wall, the image of a cross. The mother 
Mary perceives the shadow. She starts with alarm. 
And her boding of ill was with reason. The coming of the 
Roman, with his industrial slavery, meant slow cruci- 
fixion to labour in ten thousand workshops, and to child 


labour dragged from a thousand thousand homes. The 
cross that topped Calvary's hill, and the Workingman 
there put lingeringly to death, typed the lot that has been 
meted out to the wage class through the long historic 
story. For Labour likewise has known the wormwood 
and the gall. Of it too is recorded a "descent into hell. " 

But it is not possible that labour should see corruption. 
As the death of The Carpenter gathered up and drama- 
tized the crucifixion of the toiling masses, so his triumph 
over that death is a forecast of democracy's deathless 
future; so that it proclaims to-day orotundly: "I know 
that my redeemer liveth." It is not an overstatement: 
that Workingman of Galilee has apotheosized the labour 
movement and has made it earth's holiest holy. The 
cup that caught the blood from the cross became the 
holy grail, and many's the knight who has sought it. 
That quest, by the labourists of our day — they of The 
Carpenter's apostolic succession — is now accomplished. 
Golgotha has added a rouge to the banner of democracy. 
It has put a crimson girdle about the earth, to bind all 
workers into one. 

To those who doubt that the world's work, consecrated 
at this so great price, can become a thing of meaning and 
beauty, let it be reminded them that it was to this same 
Workingman that there happened the scene on the Trans- 
figuration Mount. The world's Carpenter is the world's 
christ, because he alone can commute the day's drudgery 
into a thing of zest and imagination. An ascent into 
the Mount, and the materialities of our day transfigure, 
and become white such as no fuller can whiten, and the 
dazzled beholders exclaim, "It is good for us to be here." 


Every stable is to be a holy place, every work bench an 
altar. And so shall be set to music the tune that is 
haunting millions of ears — "that the thoughts of many 
hearts may be revealed. " 

Let it be conceded that the change into the new order 
will be with unsettlement for a season. Alterations in 
the house one is living in never seem for the present to 
be joyous, but grievous : so that the call of The Carpenter 
will not pass easily into the ears of some — 'twill have a 
licentious squint. So far as this class is composed of 
beneficiaries of the present order, argument is impotent. 
They hate change with a perfect hatred. The coming of 
democracy is to them what the coming of the plough is to 
the inhabiters of an ant-hill — they are able to discern 
in it no good whatsoever. The lords of England take 
not at all to the idea of being abolished. And the world 
over, when the pocket nerve is touched, the gate to reason 
slams shut. The railing accusations brought by this 
class, therefore, must be permitted to pass unheeded. 
Their horns must be cut shorter, quite without asking 
their consent. 

There is another class, however, that opposes democ- 
racy with a disinterested opposition: The present seems 
stable — why not let well enough alone; better to bear 
the ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of. 
But this was the line of argument used also against Jesus. 
It was because he felt the currents of his day as none 
other, that he advocated change with a vehemency 
equalled by none other. Against the stand-patism of his 
time, he offered "the wisdom of the just." The advance 


from the Tiber of the foster-children of the she-wolf 
made not for peace but for devastation. The Galilean 
did not create the danger; he pointed out the danger. 
He saw deeplier than the "conservatives" of his day, 
and perceived that their "conservatism" was quite 
the most dangerous force then at work. The Arch of 
Titus in Rome, memorial of the death which came to 
Asia and the East five and thirty years later, is a silent 
witness to the wisdom of The Carpenter and to the un- 
wisdom of those who opposed The Carpenter. 

Said Mayor Gaynor of New York City, when he was 
Judge Gaynor: "The existing order of things! The 
existing order of things may be the worst possible order 
of things. The existing order of things crucified Jesus 
because he was a denouncer; and in this enlightened 
nation the existing order of things, even during the life- 
time of those of us who are still called young, was that 
one human being might own another, and good men were 
mobbed for objecting to it. We owe all that we have to 
the steady advance of the human race against the com- 
pact mass who always cried out, and still cry out as lustily 
as ever, * Don't disturb the existing order of things'." 

Jesus seems to have foreseen the travail when, after 
long gestation, the seed of revolution planted by him 
would be a man-child full grown in the body of society 
and waiting to be born. "A woman when she is in trav- 
ail," said he, "hath sorrow because her hour is come; 
but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remem- 
bereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born 
into the world." There are signs that the pangs are 
setting in. The modern world, pregnant and swelling 


with democracy as by fecundation of the holy ghost, 
is approaching the birth hour — "upon the earth distress 
of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roar- 
ing; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking 
after those things which are coming on the earth. " The 
fearful and unbelieving look upon the muddy tides 
of democracy, as it were the booming of the surges of 
chaos against the frail dykes of humanity. But, strange 
to relate, Jesus did not take the alarmist view. Said 
he: "When these things begin to come to pass, then 
look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption 
draweth nigh. " 

The presence of The Carpenter at the forefront of the 
proletary advance relieves all gnawing dread. Though 
in the uncertain mists of the morning his figure may loom 
monster-like, there comes a reassuring voice: "It is I; 
be not afraid." No reckless turbulence when Jesus 
arouses. He was no rabid leader of the mob, no peasant 
reformer inciting to scythes and pitchforks. With the 
christ-of-the-calloused-hands at their head, the workers 
could not be other than a constructive force; the spirit 
of wisdom shall rest upon them, the spirit of understanding 
and might. Government by influence is taking the place 
of government by force. And this is the kind of govern- 
ment most congenial to him of the still small voice, 
who did not shout or cry aloud, nor cause his voice to 
be heard in the street. He was never one to lash and 
storm. How vehement soever against the despoiler, 
in the midst of bitterest invective, a break in his voice 
was never far absent. He was no demagogue cajoling 
the multitude, no promiser of smooth things. With the 


same aggressive eloquence wherewith he spurred them to 
uprise, he pointed out to them their need of correctives. 
With him as the awakener of the toihng masses, naught 
but good can come. For they will awake in his Hkeness. 
To suppose that the universe is hung on such frail 
hinges that a change in the human and at present some- 
what sorry scheme of things might derange the centre 
of gravity and bring about the eternal all-smash, is a 
great atheism. With good old Acosta we can say: 
"Truly it were a thing worthy the laughing at to thinke 
so." To live in a universe thus hung on tenter hooks 
were not worth while. If one had to walk all one's life 
on tiptoe for fear of upsetting the solar system, the sooner 
the upset came the better. But tiptoes are not needed. 
The foundations of the world are fixed so firm that they 
cannot be moved. Democracy is not perfect; but it is 
the least imperfect thing the human race thus far has 
produced. Man for man, there is as much sagacity in 
the working class as in any other rank of society. To wipe 
democracy from the slate would be expurgatory of the 
best enthusiasms of the modern world. Its faults are 
the faults of strength and not of weakness. They are 
shadows cast by a morning sun and will grow less. 

The Country Life Press 
Garden City, N. Y. 


A Study in the Psychology 
of Wall Street 





Author 9f ''The Call of The Carpenter,'' Etc. 

"When you're in business you can't split hairs 
or bother over technicalities," was Daniel Drew's 
business motto. *'Give the Lord a share of your pro- 
fits and He will save you," was his spiritual comfort. 

DANIEL DREW, cattle drover and later Wall Street 
financier, who, with Gould, Fisk and Tweed wrecked the 
Erie Railroad in the early '70's, was the first to use the phrase 
" water stock." His biography has not heretofore been writ- 
ten, nor has there been anywhere so vivid an " inside " story 
of the notorious " deal " as this book contains. 

From authenticated facts, Mr. White has daringly essayed 
to write Daniel Drew's story in the first person, as Daniel 
Drew himself wotdd have told it. The result is a most amaz- 
ing narrative, told in Drew's colloquial style; which, for its 
revelation of the real personality of Drew and his methods, 
and for its insight into the ethics of Wall Street "combines" 
and "corners," will surely make this book permanent, as it is 
a unique addition to the literature of the " Street." 

Garden City DOUBLED AY, PAGE & CO. New York 




-MAR 9 iS4\j 



JUL 3 1965 


AUG 4-65 

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